The project has seen children from 9 primary schools across the city work with business mentors to come up with an enterprising idea and make a profit on a £150 loan provided by a local business.
The Hull Ready project is a key part of the city’s overall work on promoting youth enterprise and is run by Mike Notarantonio who explained about the event.
"The short presentations made by each school involved have shown what each group of pupils have done with the £150 over the last 4 months of the project and what lessons they have learnt along the way. There have been some great ideas."
First up were Year 5 and Year 6 pupils from Bude Primary who had developed a range of Christmas decorations and then sold them at the Christmas fair. Along the way they had to work out how to promote their goods, doing this by a poster campaign, as well as work out how to price their goods. Above all, they said the main lesson of the project had been the importance of working as a team.
Next to present were Greenway Primary who decided to use their current school work about the Egyptians as inspiration for their business. As a result they ended up producing a range of bracelets and other jewellery inspired by the land of the pharaohs, making an impressive £310 profit overall.
Highlands Primary decided to base their project around the winter weather, investing in a range of luminescence stockings, hats, gloves and socks for the chilly weather. They had to carry out lots of research to source the best value goods, and then ran into problems with finance, having to ask their teachers for an extra loan to purchase the goods. They then sold the winter clothing at a range of different locations in and around the school, even managing to convince former Hull City star Dean Windass to part with some money! On the day of the presentations at Hull Truck portfolio holder for young people Councillor Christine Randall was given a complimentary hat and scarf from the young entrepreneurs.
Maybury Primary went for the other essential for human life, food, via their Smooth Café Experience. Their main products were buns and fruit smoothies, lessons in the making of the second came from local expert Phil Benson from Xing Health who came into the school to help them. All these were then sold at their Christmas Fair and, judging from the fact that they sold out, must have been a real success. Making £105.98, the pupils said they’d like to use their profit to make some calendars to sell on again i.e. becoming serial entrepreneurs! This group was leant the money and mentored by BBC Presenter Blair Jacobs who couldn’t hold back his admiration for the experience. "I had a great time with this project and the children. It was a real privilege to take part."
Parkstone Primary also thought that aiming for the stomach was the best way to turn a profit. They set up the Parkstone Café making toast and toppings washed down with fruit juice for staff and fellow pupils. They used toasters lent by their teachers and, like Maybury, there was a big demand for what popped up. Not content with satisfying their clients bellies they also made sure they had a good time with their own version of Britain’s Got Talent (Parkstone’s Got Talent), putting on two talent shows, one for children and one for adults, with both shows being presented by none other than Parkstone’s own Ant and Dec! Business advisor Kevin Bick of Mulberry said: "The enthusiasm of the children was terrific and their confidence in everything they did was quite remarkable."
Sidmouth Primary also based their idea around a television show format, coming up with the Sidfactor, a talent show performed in front of adults and children. Like all the pupils involved in Make £5 Blossom they had to use the Big 13 enterprise skills to carry out their project and in their case this involved deciding carefully which role each of them was to play in putting the show together. The planning paid off handsomely with around 130 people attending the show and £246 made in profit, a figure which doesn’t include the post event sales of the DVDs. Their business advisor Shirin Zandi from Kingston Communications was also impressed by the funds made saying: "All the kids displayed such a confidence and maturity way beyond their years, it was truly inspiring."
Spring Cottage Primary also showed that they had used some of the Big 13 Skills in their project. They were working with balloon retailer Hullaballon so it was perhaps natural for them to try their luck in selling balloons for Christmas for their project. They did manage to sell some balloons and said they enjoyed the teamwork aspect of the project, but also recognised that if they were to do it again they wouldn’t just sell balloons with a Christmas theme and would also buy more stock of the popular helium balloons. “Business is all about adapting your approach to how your plans and actions develop, so in learning what products sold most and what to do differently in the future, these pupils from Spring Cottage have learnt one of enterprise’s most valuable lessons, how to change your approach,” commented Project Coordinator Mike Notaratonio.
Another school to take a Christmas theme was St James Primary who were working with The Promotion Company to sell cards, calendars, baubles and other festive goods at their Christmas fair. Struggling through missing orders, they did manage to turn a profit, and although it wasn’t as much as some of the other schools, they did get something out of the project which will stay with them for life – ‘the enterprise bug’ and so plan to spend their £41 profit on the school allotment and from this to sell the things they grow.
Lord Mayor Karen Woods, who was at the event, also touched on a floral theme. Addressing all those pupils taking part she said: "It’s important not to forget these tiny buds of enterprise and I’m sure that you will all think back to this experience in the future. Although the money making is important, more important is believing in yourself and what you want to do, if you do that the money will follow."
As lead officer for enterprise in the city, Charles Cracknell echoed the Lord Mayor’s comments saying: "It’s great that after 2 rounds of Make £5 Blossom, the children of this city have made more than £20,000 in profit. But more importantly, the skills that the young people have learnt will have much more of an impact, both financially and for these young people’s lives. They’ll also help move our city forward."
For more information about youth enterprise in the city, see www.youthenterprise-hull.co.uk.