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Big Deal for Year 10 Students

Four Year 10 students have won this year’s Big Deal Enterprise Challenge, beating off competition at Warwick Business School.

Congratulations to Ollie, Holly, Rebecca and Kitty from Year 10 for winning the ‘Big Deal’ Enterprise competition at Warwick University. The students, who are collectively known as ‘Team Aspire,’ competed against 12 teams from across the UK, and were crowned winners for their Pop Up Pods (PUPS) social enterprise initiative, a housing solution that would provide permanent disaster relief for families in developing countries. The students have won the opportunity to travel to a European country of their choice to liaise with local entrepreneurs and learn more about the world of business.

The ‘Big Deal’ is an initiative funded by Warwick University which aims to widen participation in Higher Education and encourage young people to aspire to study at top universities. The students were asked to create a prototype of a product or devise a social enterprise and design corresponding marketing materials. They had to undertake a series of challenges over a 10 week period which involved submitting a business plan, undertaking market research and liaising with their business mentor, Paul Broadbent, whose expertise and guidance was invaluable to the team. The students presented their pitch in a ‘Dragons’ Den’ style finale at Warwick University to a panel of judges who were impressed with their organisation skills, team work and business acumen.

Having survived the heats, the students were involved in a tense competition for first place against Dinkum Electronics, a group of five schools from Derby whose novel idea of storing headphones in a yoyo case to avoid tangled wires, also ‘wowed’ the judges. However, the Lady Manners School students won the judges over with their PUPs initiative as they cleverly considered how the units could be simultaneously sold commercially as garden rooms in the UK and then provide disaster relief when the business had raised enough funds.

Craig Bentley, Head Judge and former manager at Caterpillar and Haulotte Group said: ‘Congratulations to all the winners but especially to the finalists…It all came down to who understood the idea of the Big Deal from the beginning to the end and got the best learning outcome from the process.’

Year 10 student and Big Deal winner Ollie said: ‘It’s amazing to win, we’ve put in a lot of work and we’ve really enjoyed the whole process’. Fellow student Holly, who was Team Aspire’s financial guru, said: ‘’We’ve all pulled together for the project and added to it. We realised we could help many people as well as coming up with a commercial business idea too’.

The students are looking forward to enjoying their prize and are planning to travel to Budapest, where they will meet with business leaders to discuss their idea further.

Thanks also go to the students’ parents for their support throughout this activity.