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Students’ bike safety idea wins praise for entrepreneurship

Student entrepreneurs on a mission to prevent bike thefts impressed judges in an annual business competition for schools.

Team Sparta from The King’s Academy, Coulby Newham, came up with My Chip, a wristband and app tracking device, which they said would “revolutionise the bike security market”.

Their idea and presentation saw them shortlisted at the annual Emmanuel Schools Foundation (ESF) Business Game, a challenge set over a week in which teams have to establish a business, develop a product or service having done market research and then present to a panel of judges.

Three Year 9 teams from each of the four ESF schools took part – Emmanuel College, Gateshead, Bede Academy, from Northumberland, Trinity Academy, Doncaster and The King’s Academy, which also hosted its sister schools in the final.

The businesses had to demonstrate commercial awareness by working out finances, develop ideas for a website and other marketing, consider sales and distribution, and show corporate social responsibility by choosing a charity to receive a share of profits.

Team Sparta chose Re-cycle, which donates bikes to Africa, as its charity.

The winners of the competition were from Bede Academy, whose shopping device Pro-Scan logs the expiry date of purchased food then sends text alerts to warn of produce nearing its use-by date, along with recipe ideas for how to use it.

The other teams from The King’s Academy were Infinity with their Chew Chew healthy express meals for children and Team Beyond, whose products were gloves and sweatbands for runners which monitor and record data such as pace and heartbeat.

Adam Cooper, head of business, IT and economics at The King’s Academy, who organised the final, said:

“I have been thoroughly impressed by the creativity, thought and preparation shown by all the businesses.”

John Inglis-Jones, executive officer at Anglican International Development, who was accompanied by fellow judges Debbie Schofield, from ESF, and Ruth Watson, from Middlesbrough Football Club’s Enterprise Academy, added:

“I know from many years working in corporate finance that it isn’t easy to come up with a concept, work out the finances and get an idea under way. Everybody did extremely well and the standard was very high.”

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Business students organise Christmas shoebox project

A shoebox collection for deprived children has helped lift the lid on project management for sixth form students.

The annual collection of boxes full of gifts at The King’s Academy, Coulby Newham, was organised this year by Year 12 BTEC business studies students for a coursework project.

It involved promoting the festive appeal across the academy, organising the logistics, arranging box-wrapping sessions, managing teams of students, quality control and communications with suppliers and benefiting charity Samaritan’s Purse.

Eve Smith, 16, said:

For our coursework we had to organise an event so we chose the shoebox appeal because it was something we thought we could get really involved in and we had lots of ideas for it.”

The group made posters, adverts and a presentation for tutor groups explaining appropriate contents for the shoeboxes, how they had to be packaged and the arrangements for collection.

They drafted in 40 volunteers from Years 7 and 8 and trained them how to wrap each box correctly and to check the quality and appropriateness of the contents during two lunchtime sessions.

The team had to source paper and elastic bands and also persuaded Tesco to donate small toys and toiletries for the project, which resulted in 243 filled boxes.

Megan Stubbs, 17, said:

Before we started we didn’t realise how much work goes into an appeal like this. We had to make sure everyone knew about it, from our own presentations to asking for announcements to be made on the tannoy system, and we wrote a piece for the Academy Times.”

The other students in the team were Ethan Sutherland, Alex Stewart, Jack Sidgwick and Matthew Hill.

Their teacher Laura Manthy said the students had developed new skills and grown in confidence.

She added:

They were very determined and hard-working. They had to consider their individual skills and how they should be applied to the project to best effect.

“Now they’ve completed the project and the boxes have been handed over to Samaritan’s Purse to be sent to children around the world, the students are reviewing how it went. I was very impressed with how professional they were and their organisation, communication and teamwork skills were fantastic.”