Certainly not bamboozled by business: Yate youngsters sweep the board in business competition
If you need a smart presentation board made from bamboo, we might know just the people. A group of sixth form students at Brimsham Green School have taken a business competition by storm, winning three awards. They now hope their venture, Bamboo Business will repeat their success on the national stage. Year 13 student and budding entrepreneur Ellis Conway told the Voice more about their experience.
Sixth form students at Brimsham Green are given the incredible opportunity to be a part of the Young Enterprise scheme as their enrichment sessions for one year. This allows a select group of around 14 students to meet for two hours of designated lesson time per week to create their own business from scratch, with the guidance of business advisors and meetings run by Young Enterprise themselves. The national Young Enterprise competition involves schools from all over the country whose teams pull together to try and build the best, most professional business possible.
Young Enterprise is a non-profit charity that allows young people to expand their knowledge through the hands-on experience gained by participating in the establishing and running of a brand-new business. There are three levels of competition in which student businesses take part; local, regional and national. At each level the companies are judged and marked against different requirements and at the end of the programme, an overall winner is announced.
As a member of this year's Young Enterprise team, I can confidently say that there is a lot more work involved than I first expected, however it all becomes worth it when you can produce a final product that the whole team can take pride in. Each team member is allocated a job role and from there we begin to build a business, with each member focusing on the responsibilities of their job title. Everything from finance and fundraising to branding and manufacturing is down to us, including the many legal considerations to think about.
When the branding is finished, the company must then begin to think about practicalities of buying and then engraving our chosen product of bamboo serving boards, as well as our financial situation regarding what we can and cannot afford. Our main targets for sales are the multiple trade fairs arranged by Young Enterprise, however we are seeing an increasing audience for sales through our social media accounts such as our Facebook page and our website also.
Our company, The Bamboo Business, has already experienced a surprising level of success selling our bamboo presentation boards within just a few months of the company's beginning. At one of our local trade fairs on 2 December at St Nicholas' Market in Bristol, we were awarded with three out of four awards.
The first award was for 'Best Customer Service', a category that we were marked 70/80 for, on account of our friendly and persuasive team members. Our second award was for 'Best Trade Stand', in which we scored 73/80 for the way that our product was presented on the stand we were given and the professionalism seen within the stand by the judges. The third and final award we were given was the 'Best Overall Company' which was given based on the collective scores of all categories we were marked on. It is incredibly rare for one school to win the majority of awards at one trade fair and as a result of this we were all massively surprised and proud, students and teachers alike.
In these months since the beginning of The Bamboo Business, we have sold 104 high quality bamboo boards and made £1066 revenue so far, with profits reaching over £500. A particular success for us was the sale of 18 serving boards to local business The Vintage Birdcage Cakery, where they are now used to display and serve selected food to their customers.
We were able to personalise the boards with their popular birdcage logo and as a result of this there are now more plans to continue selling to local businesses to improve and strengthen our brand. We have high hopes to achieve more awards and hopefully make it far enough in the Young Enterprise competition to become the title holders for 2017/18.
Research from the many years since Young Enterprise was founded in 1962, shows that Young Enterprise alumni are twice as likely to have successes through setting up their own business than their peers and we hope for many more achievements to come in our journey to the final competition.