In a twist of circumstance that would not seem out of place on an episode of The Apprentice, budding young businesspeople from across the Borders had to adapt quickly for this year’s Young Enterprise Scotland Borders final, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The programme, which aims to help young people realise their potential and success in the world of business, was due to come to a completion at the grand finale, hosted at the Scottish Borders Campus on 19th March 2020. However, following all of the students’ efforts, spanning the academic year, the management committee had to postpone the event as a result of the national lockdown. Judging of the programme’s six categories (Best Trade Stand, Best Report, Best 360 Feedback, Best Presentation, Best Digital Presence and Borders Company of the Year), was subsequently carried out remotely, with the winners announced via Facebook on Friday 1st May 2020.
The judges were impressed with the diversity of the products offered by students from the five teams, representing Berwickshire High School and Earlston High School. Items for sale included dog treats, succulent plants potted in recycled glass jars, luxury gingerbread houses and acrylic signs.
Lead judge Alice Pringle, from programme sponsor TRICAPITAL, the Scottish Borders business angels, said: “Congratulations to all the teams! I was tremendously impressed by their ideas, products and teamwork. The amount the teams and individuals learnt through the process of developing an enterprise will be very valuable in their futures. The opportunity for trial presentations and practice trade stands at TRICAPITAL before the Final Reports gave the teams useful feedback from existing businesspeople, and there were good points in the work and enthusiasm of all the teams. I was particularly struck by the winning team’s clear plan of action and creation of sales opportunities. Their enthusiasm for their product literally sold it! It’s good to see the next generation of Borders businesspeople are so switched on, and know that the future is in good hands.”
The programme gives real working experience, with each student committing to a role within the company. The undertaking of a role facilitates learning about the essence of enterprise and enhancing the student’s development of a wide range of skills such as problem-solving, communication and resilience – all of which are relevant to those in business today.
Chloe Purves, Chair of the Young Enterprise Scotland Local Area Team, said: “Over the last 8 months S5 and S6 (15-19-year olds) involved in the Young Enterprise Scotland Company programme have had the ultimate business experience. They have gained a valuable understanding of how business works - how to set up a company, write a business plan, produce and sell a product and keep financial records. However, it is the key employability and entrepreneurial skills they have learnt that will set them in good stead for the future – presentation skills, team working and leadership, communication skills and how to conduct yourself in an interview situation. But by far, the most rewarding thing is seeing their confidence grow and their ideas come alive. This coming year we hope to have more secondary schools involved particularly as the Programme now offers the students the opportunity to gain a higher-level qualification.”
It is hoped that, as we move out of lockdown, the winners of the Borders Company of the Year will have the opportunity to attend the national final, held in Edinburgh.
Quote from winner, Border Mugs, whose product was a mug decorated with a word search that included many of the towns from across the region, said: “x”
The 2019/20 category winners:
Media Release - McGowan Marketing