Gloucestershire's Young Entrepreneurs impress GCHQ judges

GFirst LEP has run its seventh inter-schools competition to find the county’s most innovative young entrepreneur. Sponsored by GCHQ, over 50 students aged 13 and 14, from seven local schools pitched their business ideas to a panel of judges, as part of the Young Entrepreneurs Competition.

The Year 9 students were given the task of creating a product or service to make education or business easier in the future, focusing around communication devices, business technology or cyber security.

With ideas ranging from software to reduce time spent on administration tasks, to a pen that translates as you write; the students came up with the initial concepts, financial plans, and advertising and marketing ideas to pitch to the judges.

Each school ran a competition internally to find their winning team, which was judged by an independent panel before presenting at the GCHQ final. The teams of students were supported by a business mentor to help them focus and develop their idea.

The judges were hugely impressed with the variety and creativity of the pitches presented, and commended the students on the hard work and research they had put in to the competition.

The final results from the Young Entrepreneurs Competition are:

1st place: Archway School with Accounting Data Analyst – software that will reduce time spent on administration tasks by 40%

2nd place: Westonbirt School with Motoscribe

3rd place: Cheltenham College with E-desk

David Owen, Chief Executive of GFirst LEP, said: "The entrepreneurial spirit and enthusiasm of the students is fantastic, and we’re very grateful to the business mentors for giving up their time to help guide the students with their ideas, and of course to GCHQ for sponsoring the programme.

Linking education and business is imperative in ensuring that the county has a skilled workforce, and the ideas of young people are incredibly important – I hope to see the Accounting Data Analyst hit the market in a few years’ time!”

Virginia Martin, Careers Co-ordinator at Archway School added: “As first year entrants to the Young Entrepreneurs Competition, we were thrilled at the levels of creativity this event inspired in all eighty Year 9 students who took part in the first round of the competition.

The breadth of business ideas the students produced was outstanding and a credit to them, and to their professional coaches who assisted the groups throughout the day.

Preparations for the GCHQ final took this creativity to the next level as the five Archway finalists gave up lunch-breaks and worked in the Easter holidays to perfect their bid. The Young Entrepreneurs competition provided the framework and impetus, but it was the boys’ determination to do their very best that won them the competition. From seeking support from the school’s English department to help them sound the part, to working with their Young Entrepreneurs’ coach to come up with the ‘killer’ one-liner to open and close their presentation, and doing a practice run to the Head teacher, the boys grew in confidence as they learnt to argue their stand and develop the skills to bat away any tricky questions they might be faced with.

The journey Jack, Jake, Oscar, Tom and Jonah went on from product conception to competing in the final was a joy to watch and the skills they have learnt will no doubt aid them in their future careers. Archway School is very grateful to GCHQ for sponsoring the Young Entrepreneurs inter-school competition and we look forward to taking part next year to defend our title. 

"Watching the boys win the Young Entrepreneurs competition made me wish I had joined Archway years earlier ... I never cried from joy in my last job!”

The students were equally thrilled with their winning concept, saying:

“Truly amazing experience to be part of, you never learn something until you do it.” Oscar

“It was an amazing experience and I found the experience really fun.” Jack

“A total joy to be a part of.” Tom

Tom Noble, from Tom N Tech, who mentored the winning team, said; "Working with the young entrepreneurs of Archway School has been an absolutely fantastic experience. The performance, dedication and hard work of the students from Archway School has been exemplary and was demonstrated in their success in today's final. All of the teams in the final gave excellent pitches, delivered with enthusiasm and professionalism.

I get the opportunity to work with a lot of young people, each of whom comes with their own background and story, and doing so provides a great deal of personal satisfaction. From the Young entrepreneurs events to practice interviews, I personally encourage and endorse professionals engaging with tomorrows generation, as well as schools supporting these highly beneficial opportunities.

Well done to all of the students at Archway School and all those that took part in the competition, you and your schools should be extremely proud!"

All schools from across Gloucestershire are able to enter the competition. If your school is interested in taking part in the next academic year, please get in touch with Katherine Johnson for more details on

 Gloucestershire schools taking part in the Young Entrepreneurs final:

•          Archway School, Stroud

•          Cheltenham College

•          Dean Close School, Cheltenham

•          Lakers School, Coleford

•          The Crypt School, Gloucester

•          Westonbirt School, Tetbury

•          Wycliffe College, Stonehouse

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