SHEFFIELD’s best junior business brains are heading for the high life in Dubai - after snatching the top prize in this year’s BiG Challenge.
A team from Stocksbridge High School will be heading for the skyscrapers and five star hotels of the Middle Eastern state - home to the world’s tallest building.
The annual enterprise contest for school and college students attracts more entries each year - attracted by major prizes which in the past have seen winners jetting to Madrid, Paris and Hong Kong.
The 2012 event was the fifth so far and attracted 1,200 11 to 19-year-olds from all over the city, with 90 teams reaching the final stage.
Stocksbridge High’s team, titled Scrabtagz, was made up of four 14-year-olds who took a classic word game as their inspiration.
They designed, manufactured and sold key rings, door plates, earrings and cuff links all in the style of Scrabble tiles - after starting with an investment of £25.
The youngsters celebrated their success at the end of a tense awards evening held in front of 200 people at the Royal Victoria Holiday Inn.
Team member Rebecca Jubb said they were all thrilled.
“The best thing about the whole experience has been learning what it could be like to run your own business. We’ve experienced some lows but we will never forget the highs.”
The team won the Made in Sheffield prize for the best manufactured product, and squeezed ahead of the BAJ business, run by Billy Taylor from Forge Valley School, to take the ultimate accolade.
But the final voting was so close that event sponsors DLA Piper have invited Billy to join the trip.
Other category winners included Choose2reuse from High Storrs, Key2Unlock from Meadowhead, Two Old Classics from Sheffield College and Young Music from Birkdale.
The finalists produced an average return of 624 per cent on their initial £25 investment – converting £25 into £180 over five months. Chris Heaton, chair of the Sheffield Assay Office, said: “I wish I could report those sorts of figures - we business folks could learn a thing or two from these winners.”
DLA Piper managing partner Richard May said the teams were all ‘up and coming talent’.