North London girls guide the way to business success.

North London girls guide the way to business success.

A group of entrepreneurial girls from North London Collegiate School (NLCS) in Edgware snatched the ‘Best Overall Company’ trophy in the interim competition of Young Enterprise, West London, on Tuesday 14th December 2010 at an event attended by the Mayor of Brent, Cllr Harbhajan Singh and the Mayor of Harrow, Cllr Asad Omar. Young Enterprise is a charity that works with schools to encourage entrepreneurship among young people via a nationwide scheme. The NLCS girls stormed to victory with their product ‘The Alternative Passport to London’, a teenage tour guide to the Capital. Judges described their entry as an innovative idea executed with considerable professionalism both in the presentation of their business plan and their trade stand.

Among the nine entrants in the Young Enterprise West London interim competition were: Purple Crown (Harrow High School) selling consumer products, ‘Footprints on the Moon’ (NLCS) marketing a business success book; Take Note (NLCS) manufacturing organisational products; East West Fusion (Heathfield School) who stage events; Sound Dreamz (JFS) selling blue-tooth enabled sleep pillows; Rising Stars (The Swaminarayan School) who developed a health chart for children, Imagine (Kingsbury High School) who made greetings cards; Pic’N’Mix (JFS) who manufactured wallets out of discarded wrappers and The Alternative (NLCS) with their ‘Alternative Passport to London’ tour guide. Participating groups go on to national and European finals as well as completing the funding of their business plans and producing their products within the 12-month school time table.

Joint Managing Directors of The Alternative, Serena Patel (17) and Hadia Tariq (17) said "we are so thrilled to have won the ‘Best Overall Company’ prize. The whole concept of running a business is new to us and it was hard work overcoming many of the obstacles we encountered, like raising sufficient start-up funds; developing a brand identity and marketing our guide to businesses in the tourism industry". The company’s Finance Director, Woojung Ko (17) paid tribute to teacher Stephen Goward, their Young Enterprise coordinator, and external business advisers, entrepreneurs Akash Soni and Lopa Patel, saying that "without the invaluable advice of our business mentors, we would have found it difficult to progress beyond the first obstacle we encountered which was the high cost of publishing!"

The Alternative, which comprises twenty-three girls, hopes to attract an endorsement from Mayor of London, Boris Johnson in their bid to promote London tourist attractions suitable for teenagers and young adults in time for the London Olympics 2012. "We really want to promote local businesses and so have spent hours scouring London for the real "hidden jewels" that our demographic would love to read about and we’ve invested a lot of time reviewing venues, attractions and offers to really bring the ‘Alternative Passport to London’ to life in an uncomplicated and to-the-point way", explained Priya Shah (17), the company’s Sales Director.

The company is now finalising promotional vouchers to be included in the guide and hopes to launch the ‘Alternative Passport to London’ early in 2011with a ground-breaking photo competition run on its website and Facebook page in the New Year.

About Young Enterprise

Young Enterprise is building a connected world of young people, business volunteers and educators, inspiring each other to succeed through enterprise. Our programmes empower the next generation with the confidence, ability and ambition to succeed in a rapidly changing global economy. With the support of more than 3,500 businesses and over 5,000 schools, colleges, universities and local communities, we are the UK’s leading enterprise education charity.

The Young Enterprise Company has been running since 1963 and over 1 million young people have participated in the programme to date. Students aged 15-19 gain practical experience of business and enterprise through setting up and running their own real company. In West London more than 600 young people from more than 30 schools across the region set up almost 40 start-up companies. The programme is typically run in Year 10 (14-15 year olds) or Year 12 Students (16-17 year olds).

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