Wednesday, November 23, 2016

News: Enterprising students show what's old is new

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Teams of enterprising 6th form and college students from across Rotherham have been putting their business skills to the test as part of a challenge set by Rotherham Youth Enterprise (RYE).

Recognising that upcycling is especially popular during the recent economic downturn, the competition challenged teams of students to take an old item that isn't used or wanted anymore and increase its value and quality through upcycling. The products had to be a better quality and a higher value than the original item; be an original, but not unrealistic idea that can be sold to target customers; and have the potential to positively impact the environment.

Six colleges/6th forms schools were involved in the challenge and eight teams were invited to the challenge finals, gathering last week to present to a range of judges from the Rotherham business community, local employers and media.

Alex Whittaker from RNN College was the overall winner, picking up £250 in Meadowhall vouchers. Her Household Junk Into Gifts idea brought together a great business plan and presentation focusing on creative gifts targeted at students this Christmas. The idea also had a demonstrable ethos where profits would go to charity.

Alex also picked up a further £50 in vouchers for the Most Innovative Upcycling Idea.

Other winners were Nicole Scarfe, Rebecca Horsfield, Georgia Booker from Thomas Rotherham College wo picked up £50 in vouchers for the Most Viable Business Plan which focused on shabby chic furniture targeted at hair salons. Charlie Yates, Megan Strutt, Lauren Oxley and Ella Shields, also from Thomas Rotherham College, were awarded £50 in vouchers and the Best Team Presentation prize for their Luxry Lino idea of creating printed goods from upcycled lino.

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The Tatty Timber team were also placed third overall and secured £100 in vouchers with Molly Wilkinson and Connor Renshaw from Dearne Valley College named as the runner up and bagged £150 in voucher for their Trash2Treasure idea of creating products from upcyclyed pallets.

The annual event is organised by Rotherham Youth Enterprise (RYE) which encourages young people (up to the age of 30) to explore business ideas and develop the skills and knowledge necessary to be their own boss. Supported by Rotherham Council, office and workshop space is also made available in Rotherham business centres on reduced rates.

A number of entrepreneurs who have been supported by RYE gave up their time to be judges at the event.

The event was also supported by UK Steel Enterprise - part of Tata Steel that provides equity and loan finance to growing companies, help the economic development of those areas of the UK most affected by changes in the steel industry.

Keith Williams, regional manager at UK Steel Enterprise, said: "We are delighted to support this well–established business challenge in association with Rotherham Youth Enterprise who provide invaluable enterprise training and support to would be entrepreneurs which also improve their employability skills.

"The challenge helps to equip young people with the knowledge and skills required to be successful in the real world and in business."

RYE website
UK Steel Enterprise website

Images: RYE


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