Rome wasn’t built in a day. But these businesses were.

Every year Global Entrepreneurship Week encourages people of all ages to stretch their business muscles and create something new. Entrepreneurialism is the name of the game.

This year, we joined forces once again with the Aldridge Academies for an epic nationwide challenge. Building on our collaboration last year for GEW 2011, in which students worked in teams to come up with projects which would tackle social challenges, this year we decided to ramp it up a notch. All students from Brighton Aldridge Community Academy, Darwen Aldridge Community Academy and Portslade Aldridge Community Academy, were set the task of setting up and running their own businesses in on day.

At the start of the day, student teams were transformed into professional companies, designing, producing, advertising and selling their own unique souvenirs to appeal to a particular target market. So one team from PACA decided to target environmentalists with a green theme, and incorporated a pack of seeds into each souvenir they produced. Another looked ahead to the next Olympics, designing everything from bracelets and hats to keyrings and fridge magnets with a Rio 2016 twist.

Once ideas and designs were consolidated, it was time to get producing. This was no make-believe business; this was real. Each team was given a set of start-up money with which to buy resources from the EE shop. Choosing their materials carefully from their limited budget, production began. From paper snow globes to iPhone cases made of coloured card, who says you can’t make a business out of basic school supplies? Teachers were amazed by the ingenuity of their students’ designs, with one emphasising what a positive impact the creative nature of the task had on all the students; even those who might normally shy away from collaborative exercises.

Once the first souvenirs were created, teams rushed to sell them back to the shop, and reinvested their earnings in more resources. The production line had begun.

In the last section of the day companies recomposed themselves after the previous flurry of activity and set about planning a business presentation which they would pitch to potential investors. The presentations were fantastic, and judges had a task and a half trying to decide on a winning team. Eventually one from each academy was chosen as the winner and went on to represent their school at the grand finale at UBS. After an exciting day of enterprise it was PACA that was crowned the winner of GEW 2012. Well done to them and everyone involved!

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