Gloucestershire's Young Entrepreneurs bring innovative ideas to GCHQ Cheltenham
Press Release - 27 Apr 2015
GCHQ, working with GFirst Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), hosted over fifty Year 9 students (ages 13–14) from eight of Gloucestershire’s secondary schools who came into their Cheltenham headquarters to pitch business ideas as finalists in the 2015 Young Entrepreneurs Competition.
The competition tasked the students to come up with an original product or service that would make a busy business person’s life easier, or help make people safer when online. Presentations were given ‘Dragons Den’ style to a panel of GCHQ and GFirst judges.
Students were thrilled to have qualified for the final with contestants from The Crypt School in Gloucester, saying it was 'a well thought out and planned event', whilst those from Cleeve School in Cheltenham said 'we thought GCHQ was just a very secretive place, but it’s not all like that. Everyone is very nice and friendly'.
The Young Entrepreneurs’ Competition aims to help students develop skills from creative thinking and team-working, to confidence in presenting to groups of people. As part of the competition volunteer Business Mentors go into schools and help students learn how to work in a professional manner; understand the importance of deadlines and appreciate the different aspects of business.
On the day the teams didn’t make it easy for the judges with some very imaginative ideas being pitched and in spite of some tough questions from the judges, all contestants managed to keep focused, showing great confidence in their products.
The students’ ideas arose from briefs given to them by GFirst LEP’s Education Business Partnership team. The pitches given by contestants needed to include either a product or service concerning business technology or mobile devices. Working in small teams, students covered aspects of essential business processes such as finance, advertising and marketing that successfully capitalised on their ideas.The judges were overwhelmed with the creativity of the ideas, and praised the students on the work they had put into the competition.
The final results from the 2015 Young Entrepreneurs Competition were:
After much deliberation The Crypt School emerged as winners with their product called Cryptech ProNote. This is a microchip projector watch that uses modern technology to project a notepad on to any flat surface, enabling the user to write notes with a Bluetooth stylus and to save them to a 32GB SD card.
Michelle Gardner, a teacher from the victorious Crypt School, said: 'I am delighted for the school. They have worked hard on this competition on their own, organising everything and they did it as a team. It’s been so fantastic, their teamwork especially'.
Tim, GCHQ Deputy Chief Technical Officer and lead judge, was impressed by the products. He said: 'Creating new innovative ideas is very important to GCHQ. The skills and ideas shown by the finalists affirm the great talent and imagination youngsters have'.
Business Mentor Marcus Grant, Employment Advisor at TCV Employment and Training Services, said: 'There were some amazing ideas being put forward from the students during the competition, and we could see a real increase in confidence, as many of them have never presented in front of an audience before. The Young Entrepreneurs Competition is a great way for voluntary Business Mentors to bring the professional skills that we have learnt over the years to Gloucestershire’s students, and bridge the gap between business and education. It has been a joy helping develop and encourage the students'.
If your school would like to take part in the Young Entrepreneurs Competition in the next academic year, please get in touch with the Education Business Partnership at email@example.com.
The EBP are looking for new Business Mentors to volunteer to help with programmes; to get involved, visit their website.
Notes to Editors
GCHQ is one of the three UK Intelligence Agencies and works to protect the UK’s national security interests. It has been engaging with the local community, including raising the profile of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects in schools, for many years.
Find out more about GCHQ’s recruitment opportunities.
About GFirst LEP
GFirst LEP, Gloucestershire’s Local Enterprise Partnership, brings together businesses to make the county successful and create jobs. It is led by the business community in partnership with the education and public sectors to help Gloucestershire realise its economic potential.
The Education Business Partnership team offer a range of activities to help young people prepare for the world of work by working closely with schools and the business community.
For more information about GFirst LEP, please contact Katy McCarthy on 01242 715494 firstname.lastname@example.org