I was invited to attend this event in two capacities tonight, as Deputy Lord Mayor and as Chair of Governors at Oxford Spires Academy. It was held at the prestigious Saïd Business School of Oxford University.
I attended and took Sue Croft, our Principal at Oxford Spires, with me. I was delighted that the Oxford Spires team won the best trade stand award and that we were one of only two state secondary schools in Oxford who had got that far in the competition.
The evening had started with exhibition stalls from the nine Young Enterprise Projects that were presenting at the evening and there were some very good stands that looked very professional. THe evening progressed to the main lecture theatre where each of the nine groups got 4 minutes to present their work. I was hugely impressed at all the talks and heard some excellent ideas, excellent presentations and really amazing business results from these groups of young people. It was exciting to see so much passion in people who will surely be the entrepreneurs of the future! After this I gave a very short speech, thanking all the young people for their excellent work and brilliant presentations and I also reminded them not to let their academic school work suffer as they’d not get too far without good qualifications. I also handed the participation certificates to all the teams.
After breaking for drinks and networking, and another chance to see the stands, we went back to the lecture theatre for a useful keynote talk by Timon Colegrove, the Chair of the Oxfordshire Institute of Directors. He made a very important point about never, ever, belittling people for their ideas in business and I think that’s really important.
The main awards were then announced and awarded – the main award went to an excellent business called Toucan, that was sourcing and selling high-quality knitwear from within and to the UK.
You can read lots about the Young Enterprise secondary programmes on their website and this video is very good: