A POWER company is backing a competition that challenges the business acumen of teenagers.

North Electric and Gas is sponsoring the Northumberland and Sunderland area finals of the Young Enterprise Company Programme.

Under the scheme, which leads to national finals, pupils aged 15 to 19 set up and run their own company for a year.

Julian Kenyon, public affairs manager of Northern Electric and Gas, said: "The company, is keen to get involved with educ-ational schemes and put something back into the community. It is a fantastic scheme that gives students valuable insight into the world of business.

"I know that in many cases these young entrepreneurs have used their experiences to make a real impact with future ventures."