BiG winners off to Madrid

BiG Challenge winners (l-r) Alicia Cannon, Rebecca Jackson, Izzy Rhodes, Nina Preston, Anna Wood and Ella Thorns, with David Grey (l) and Steve Sly.
BiG Challenge winners (l-r) Alicia Cannon, Rebecca Jackson, Izzy Rhodes, Nina Preston, Anna Wood and Ella Thorns, with David Grey (l) and Steve Sly.
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Youngsters praised for entrepreneurial spirit

Six pupils from three Sheffield schools have won a trip to Madrid after triumphing in the BiG Challenge.

The annual enterprise competition challenges 14- to 16-year-olds to come up with a business idea before applying for a £25 microloan to get their ventures off the ground.

The teams then have five months to make their enterprises as successful as possible, with support and advice from the BiG Local Enterprise Growth Initiative team and their teachers.

Steve Sly, managing partner at BiG Challenge sponsors DLA Piper’s Sheffield office, was so impressed with the quality of entries that he decided to send three businesses on the trip to Madrid instead of just one.

Joint winners were Alicia Cannon of King Edward VII school, who set up Dig for Charity, which sells seeds to encourage people to grow their own food and eat healthily whilst saving money, and Rebecca Jackson, from Sheffield Springs Academy who set up Funky Sprout to design and make unusual and custom jewellery.

The third team to join the trip to Madrid comprises Ella Thorns, Nina Preston, Izzy Rhodes and Anna Wood from High Storrs School, whose business, MIFO, specialises in making handmade jewellery from a polymer clay called Fimo.

Mr Sly said: “This year’s BiG Challenge has been an inspiring and encouraging process which has showcased some of the most promising young entrepreneurial talent from across the Sheffield region.

Mr Sly said the 24 teams shortlisted out of the 283 entries from 28 schools had demonstrated a clear understanding of what it took to be successful in business.

“The shortlisted teams came up with some innovative and, more importantly, profitable ideas and we are proud that we have been able to support and reward them through this initiative.

“Madrid is a great choice of destination because of the strong trade and investment links between our two countries.

“Our colleagues are looking forward to welcoming the winning teams and are currently planning a jam-packed itinerary which will be challenging, but fun.”

Teams shared a £30,000 prize fund between them and were presented with their awards by OSL group managing director David Grey, who was chairman of BiG, until the coalition Government wound the Local Enterprise Growth Initiative up at the end of last month.

Sixth-form students at Sheffield’s King Ecgbert School have taken part in an interactive Discover Risk game, arranged by the Chartered Insurance Institute, and local companies to explain insurance and risk.

The would-be risk managers faced challenges such as a pop singer losing her voice on tour, cameras being damaged on a movie set and piracy affecting a company’s profits.