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Tees students win annual business challenge

BUDDING entrepreneurs have successfully pitched their invention to a team of ‘Dragons’ in a business challenge.

Young innovators from The King’s Academy, Middlesbrough, impressed a panel of industry judges with their Find My Stuff app in the final of Emmanuel Schools Foundation’s annual Business Game.

Business Game 2015 Team Alpha 1The high-tech, smart phone-based application, which helps to relocate lost items such as reading glasses, car keys and bank cards through a digitally chipped sticker system, saw Team Alpha presented with the £400 prize money.

They were selected as winners by a judging panel that comprised chairman of Casper Shipping Kevin Shakeshift, sales and marketing manager at Accounts and Legal Jennifer Welford, Newcastle University electrical manager Rob Carson, former primary school teacher and magistrate Sue Fox and careers advisor for Hartlepool Borough Council Phil Holbrook.

More than 60 Year 9 students from ESF sister schools Emmanuel College, Gateshead, Trinity Academy, Doncaster, Bede Academy, Blyth and The King’s Academy took part in the annual business challenge.

Three teams from each school were tasked to develop a product or service from themes including a new piece of wearable technology, a new brand of chocolate, a new breakfast cereal, a new app, a product or service to benefit pets, a product or service to use on the beach or a product or service to help parents with a child under the age of three.

Assistant head of sixth form and maths teacher at The King’s Academy Amy Williams, who organises the challenge each year, said:

We gave each team one week to come up with a product or service that would meet the challenge brief before asking them to present their ideas to the judges.

“They have all worked extremely hard and the judging panel were amazed with the levels of creativity and professionalism shown by all the teams.

“This competition gives the students a great opportunity to learn vital business skills in research and development, product design, production, marketing, website development and finance, as well as showing them the value of working together as a team.”

Members of the runner-up team Endurance, from Emmanuel College, Gateshead, were presented with certificates for their Miss Me Not Bear.

Teams Unity, from Bede Academy, Blyth, and Platinum Plus, from Emmanuel College, were both highly commended for reaching the final four with their safety awareness alarm and flexi drink holder innovations.

Principal of The King’s Academy David Dawes said:

It has been a truly exciting day and I have no doubt that there have been quite a few products and applications pitched here that, with the right backing, could be developed into small businesses in the future.

“The imagination and consideration that the teams have put into the challenge has been quite staggering.”

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Language ambassadors appointed at academy

Young linguists are setting out to inspire fellow students after being appointed as their academy’s first language ambassadors.

The team, who were selected or volunteered during events to mark European Day of Languages at The King’s Academy, Coulby Newham, will organise cultural experiences and activities to support other students and their own learning.

The youngest ambassadors are in Year 9 and include Azeem Akhtar, 13, who has opted for German and is also staying back after school twice a week to continue French.

I enjoy it so wanted to carry on with two languages,” he said.

French teacher Nicola Jessop, who has coordinated recruitment of the language ambassadors, explained:

The initiative will be led by the students for students. The sixth formers showed during European Day of Languages that they’re capable of running language-based activities for younger students in French, German and Spanish so being ambassadors will help them extend that.

“They’ve already talked about going to the cinema to see foreign language films, going to restaurants and possibly the German Christmas market in Leeds.”

Abbie Grosvenor, 18, who studied French to AS level and is continuing with German A level, said:

I’m going to study German at university because it connects you with the rest of the world and a different culture. I’ll spend a year there as part of my course so anything I can do to use my languages will help.”

Ellie Morgan, 16, is so keen that she is extending her repertoire by teaching herself Swedish.

“It’s a very lyrical language and I like to sing so it seemed like a good one to learn,” she said.

Another ambassador, Khadija Tariq, 17, already works with other students at The King’s for whom English is an additional language.

She explained:

We have students from Eastern Europe, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran and Syria. Some were born here but speak their mother tongue at home, while others have moved here from other countries. We help them with their homework and generally make sure they integrate well and don’t feel isolated because English isn’t their first language.”