TWO years ago Egglescliffe School in Yarm began a series of in-house ‘enterprise challenges’ for students to develop key enterprising skills.

The key skills required in enterprise are financial literacy, business and economic understanding and enterprise capability.

The most recent event at Egglescliffe School included Key Stage 3 students, giving the opportunity for 11-14 year olds to demonstrate their ability in running a small business in a Valentine’s Days special challenge.

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The challenge for the students was to maximise profit through the process of selling a good or a service in relation to Valentine’s day.

Partnerships and sole traders were formed, entrepreneurs then set to produce a business plan.

Students then presented their idea to a group of ‘Dragon style’ investors, made up from assistant head teachers and heads of department.

If successful, demonstrating to the ‘Dragons’ that they have considered a range of factors including pricing, promotion, packaging, distribution to the market and financial forecasting, their group was then invested in giving the teams £10 each to start up their business.

Entrepreneurs then went away to begin to create their products and/or services, also to begin to promote their business.

In a flurry of innovative and creative periods of promotion which saw advertising on the desktop of school computers, the creation of websites and YouTube videos, posters, flyers, assemblies and form class presentations, an air of anticipation swept through the school.

Stalls were constructed in the main hall and the two day event got underway on Thursday February 13.

Produce flew from the stalls in a very busy main hall. Valentine’s gifts ranging from cakes to Valentine’s cards, homemade shortbreads and cookies to handmade jewellery attracted students from all ages, including those in the sixth form.

One group sold out of their products on the first day, with the students keen to create further products on the evening in preparation to make more money on the next day. One group identified that their pricing was incorrect and another found that their product was not suited to the market.

Each of the students were reacting to the market and demonstrating that they have learned key enterprising skills in the process.