Seeko in the local finals

Community

Since early October, the 19 members of Seeko, the school’s Young Enterprise team, have met every Thursday with their business advisers and teachers to discuss how to source, buy, market and sell their product. On Thursday 28th April, our months of hard work came to the fore as we arrived at St Paul’s School for the Richmond and Kingston area finals of the Young Enterprise competition. We were competing with seven other teams from local schools to get to the next stage of the contest where the winner would have the chance to represent the Richmond and Kingston area in the South London finals of Young Enterprise.

Richmond and Kingston is one of the most competitive Young Enterprise areas in the country and this year was no exception. There was a wide variety of products on show, from water bottles which told you when you were getting dehydrated to customisable toys which promoted racial diversity. Our product was no less unique, a collapsible lunchbox which could become only 32mm-deep once empty and therefore took up less room in your bag once your lunch had been eaten. The area finals consisted of two main parts: the trade stand and the presentation.

The trade stand section consisted of four members of each team taking position behind the stand which they had actually sold from at school and at trade fairs in the local area. It was the perfect opportunity for the judges to see how each company had presented themselves while selling and it also gave them time to ask questions of each team such as how the team chose their product, what setbacks the team experienced and how they overcame them.

Next came the presentations. Each team had only four minutes to explain to the judges why they felt they should be allowed to progress in the competition. The pressure was on as this took place in front of not only the judges but the seven other companies and their friends, family and teachers too. Some of the more impressive pitches came from our host school, St Paul’s, whose product was a phone charger that fitted onto a key ring and Southborough Boys’ School who had an inventive range of shopping bags to combat the 5p plastic bag charge. Our presentation began dramatically with our Managing Director dumping two bin bags full of rubbish on the ground in front of the judges to make the audience think about how much waste is produced annually in the UK. This tied in with our aim as a company of reducing food and packaging waste.

After all the presentations were done, the judges went off to deliberate whilst we were all treated to a small buffet and a talk from ‘7 Billion Ideas’ founder David Harkin, which everyone found very inspiring and informative. The judges then emerged and we were told the results: 2nd place went to St Paul’s and 1st went to Southborough. Although we were all disappointed that we were not going to progress any further, it was clear to see that, from the level of competition, it was always going to be a hard decision for the judges.

I’ve learnt so much from this experience about business such as how to fundraise so that I can reach the minimum order requirement, how to source materials and speak to a supplier in another country and how to perfect a sales script. I could never have learnt as much as I have just in the classroom or by watching The Apprentice and I would urge anyone lower down the school who gets the chance to do Young Enterprise to grab the opportunity with both hands. I’d like to thank our business advisers, Coral and Mark, as well as Mrs Rhys and Dr Kennedy for their help and encouragement throughout the whole process.

Xander Chevallier, L6JMD