On Wednesday 25th April, the Young Enterprise Area Finals took place at Kingsweston House in Lawrence Weston.
The Area Finals were the chance for the 8 successful Young Enterprise teams within the West of England area to showcase their product and trade stand to a team of judges but also present their business journey, successes and learnings to over 200 participants, center leads, business advisors, visitors and judges.
Bradley Stoke Community School’s student business, Phonic Farm, supported by local accountancy firm Dunkley’s, were one of the 8 teams competing for their place in the South West Regional Finals. Only 1 of the 8 teams competing were going to be successful and proceed to the next stage of the competition.
Prior to the Finals, Phonic Farm spent several weeks preparing with various meetings being held to finalise stand design, prepare and rehearse their presentation but also swot up on the company report before the big team interview with the judges on the stand.
As they received such fantastic feedback from the judges on their ‘marketplace’ inspired stand at the Area Heats, the students decided to continue with the same design. To add something a little different and boost their chances of success, they students added a small child’s play table with playdough, rolling pins and cookie cutters to tie it all together.
Hannah (Marketing Director) and Theo (Finance Assistant) enjoying the setting up a little too much!
As the stand was pretty much sorted, the students could focus their energies on creating a top-notch presentation. Hannah as Marketing Manager created the presentation and Billy as MD took the lead on writing the script and presenting. As 3-4 students could present on the night, he asked both Tom and Lily, who presented at the Area Heats to be the other students in stage with him at the Finals.
After several weeks of work and a last-minute rush around the school sourcing all the final elements for the stand and presentation, the students loaded the mini bus and headed off to Kingsweston House.
Once they arrived, they had little over an hour to make up the stand. The result was fantastic. The stand was full of colour, fun and Phonics. They incorporated bunting, drawers which had the 7-different pick n mix items in at child friendly heights, clear labels for each drawer, a ‘chalkboard’ price list, instructions about their purchasing process and a little shopping trolley (with duck teddy in the seat) to tie the whole market feel together.
The Phonic Farm marketplace stand with 11 of the 12 company’s directors behind. From right to left we have Thomas Frost (Digital Director), James Thomas (Operations Director), Max Andrews (Company Secretary), Billy Wilde (Managing Director), Thomas Wheatley (Finance Director), Lily Whyler (HR Director), Enis Akgun (Sales Director), Hannah Evans (Marketing Director), Theodore Cox (Finance Assistant), Nicholas Mitchell (CSR Director) and Joseph Harbourd (Operations Assistant)
Whilst Phonic Farm were setting up, so were the other student businesses and it was clear to see that they had some serious competition to contend with.
As soon as the clock hit 4.30pm, the competition started. The judges left there ‘secret’ room and headed out to the Portrait Gallery where the trade stands were all set. The judging had started. With 2 sets of judging pairs wondering around, the teams had no idea of when they would come to them. Each team had a total of 8 minutes per pair to be questioned on their stand but also their company report. It was very tense but by 6pm the judging had all finished and to Phonic Farm’s delight, the comments were all very positive.
Once the trade stand judging ended, it was time for a small break. This was very well deserved and included Pie Minster Pies which were a massive hit especially with our Company Secretary Max.
During the break, the visitors who has been invited to attend from local businesses both large and small were wondering around the stands talking to all the students. Phonic Farm had a number of visitors, all of which were very impressed with the creativity of their product and the professionalism of the students.
At dead on 6.45pm, the center leads, business advisors and visitors were all asked to move into the presentation hall. 5 minutes later, the music began, and all the student teams entered the hall to a large and well-deserved round of applause.
As soon as the students took their seats, the 4-minute presentations began. Infusion, the team from Colston’s Girls school kick started the group and were closely followed by Bradley Stoke Community School’s Phonic Farm. The BSCS student’s presentation was very comprehensive, professional and creative, it even got a laugh or two from the crowd which helped with the nerves. Following Phonic Farm’s presentation, the remaining 6 teams took to the floor and all did such an amazing job.
With all the presentations done, the judges retired to their ‘secret’ room to make the final decision. It was now just a waiting game for the teams ahead of the awards.
Half an hour later, everyone was called into the hall for the announcements. There were 12 awards to be given out ranging from Best Trade Stand to the Entrepreneurial Award and the coveted Company Programme Winner 2018.
The first award of the night was the Journey Award was give to a student who had shown vast develop throughout the process. This award was followed by the Entrepreneurial and the Green/Ethical awards both of which were given to team Evoke from St Bede’s. The Innovation award followed which to the surprise all the BSCS students was given to Phonic Farm! The judges described their product as “unique, creative and unlike anything on the market!’. It was fantastic to see their faces light up and their spirit lift! The awards then continued to choose the Best MD, Business Advisor and Centre Lead. These were then followed by the Best Trade Stand, Presentation and Report.
Before we knew it, the final award was being announced…the one everyone had been waiting for. Who would be crowned the West of England Company Programme Winner?
The judges congratulated every team and then got down to business by announcing who ranked 3rd, 2nd and 1st. Atlas from Badminton School placed 3rd with their creative motivational artwork business and to everyone surprise, the team who had continually been the strongest throughout the competition so far, Bamboo Business who make bamboo serving boards, placed 2nd. The competition was blown open!
The judges did not do an introduction for first place, they simply said the words ‘Phonic Farm’. To say the team were in shock was an understatement – they had done it! Billy ran up on stage to collect the award and with a little prompting the rest of the team joined him. It was the best outcome we could have possibly asked for! The look on the teams faces once the result sunk in was priceless. They were on such a high and still are!
The West of England Company Programme Winners – Phonic Farm! From left to right we have Clare Manning (BSCS Centre Lead), Nicole Crompton (Business Advisor from Dunkley’s), Joseph Harbourd (Operations Assistant), Hannah Evans (Marketing Director), Thomas Frost (Digital Director), Lily Whyler (HR Director), James Thomas (Operations Director), Theodore Cox (Finance Assistant), Billy Wilde (Managing Director), Enis Akgun (Sales Director), Thomas Wheatley (Finance Director) , Nicholas Mitchell (CSR Director) and Derek Quinn (Award sponsor from Midas Construction)
“After 6 months of hard work, I could not have dreamed of a more perfect result. To see the look on their faces when their name was called was priceless. I am immensely proud of them and cannot wait to see how well they succeed at the Regional Finals. Bring it on I say!” Nicole Crompton, Phonic Farm’s Business Advisor from Dunkley’s
To say it was a success would be an understatement, it was an immense achievement which was so well deserved. This result truly reflected all the hard work, enthusiasm and passion the students had put into their business.
The next stop is now the South West Regional Finals taking place on Wednesday 13th June at the Met Office, Exeter. Wish them luck!