Making Things Happen

Bright Futures Help Stockton’s Sparkle

Stockton On Tees Youn Entrenpreneurs

YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS of the future have been celebrating across Stockton on Tees. Teams of finalists from ten local secondary schools took part in a “Schools’ Market Enterprise Challenge”” competition just before Christmas.

More than 70 young people worked with around 20 businesses as part of Stockton Council’s Enterprise Culture Project. They developed a range of innovative items and then brought them to market in an Apprentice-style chal-lenge. They were judged on their enterprise skills and how much profit they were able to make. St Michael’s RC Comprehensive High School, Billingham (photo above) was the winning team.

Gary Lynch

Gary Lynch is the Enterprise Co-ordinator for Stockton Council and his main aim is to stimulate economic regeneration across the Borough.

Gary, whose post is funded by the European Enterprise Development Fund, believed there were lots of budding entrepreneurs in his local schools.

He also wanted to promote the idea of enterprise and the option of running your own business among the young people. Gary suggested the idea of a Schools’ Enterprise Market Challenge to his colleagues who all supported it enthusiastically. He encouraged all the secondary schools to take part in the Challenge. School heats were held to identify the team that would represent the school at a final borough-wide event.

Gary also enabled schools to enlist specialist support to give a realistic, commercial perspective. Bright Futures, having already worked successfully with many Tees Valley schools was among the organisations approached for ideas. Matt Watson, Director of Bright Futures, devised some stimulating exercises to encourage student creativity, innovation and participation. Matt observed: “Bright Futures is well-known for exciting enterprise programmes in schools, but this was different. It was great to see young people taking our message and translating it into actually running their own companies.”

Gary commented: “This was an excellent example of partnership working between the local authority (supported by European funding), enthusiastic schools, local businesses and private facilitators. Bright Futures created a real sense of excitement. And it’s no accident that the winning school had benefitted from their input!”

Councillor Mike Smith

Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Transport, Councillor Mike Smith, said: “Almost all our Borough’s secondary schools were involved and the real life experience was invaluable – particularly in generating an appetite for enterprise and skills which will help their future careers. By working with local entrepreneurs and selling alongside established traders the young people got a real flavour of what it could be like to set up in business.

We are keen to develop the independent sector across Stockton Borough and would like many young people to see self-employment and entrepreneurship as a career option.”

The Enterprise Culture Project is part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), managed by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Gary Lynch
Enterprise Co-ordinator
Stockton Borough Council
T: 01642 528705
F: 01642526027


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