Students show off business skills

The young entrepreneurs from Cramlington Learning Village. Picture by Matt Stephens.
The young entrepreneurs from Cramlington Learning Village. Picture by Matt Stephens.

Young entrepreneurs proved they have a head for business when they took part in a regional challenge.

A team of 13 to 15-year-olds from Cramlington Learning Village impressed a panel of judges with a campaign to promote awareness of the Special Olympics GB National Games.

It saw them crowned runners-up of the North East regional final at this year’s Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP) Real Business Challenge.

Pitting themselves against other business minds of tomorrow, competitors’ creativity and business skills were put to the test during a series of regional competitions.

Teams of students from across the North East travelled to St James’ Park in Newcastle to take part in a series of practical challenges.

These centred on developing a campaign to support Special Olympics GB, helping to raise awareness for the charity and its National Games, being held this summer in Sheffield.

CCEP business volunteers were on hand to mentor the teams, giving students encouragement and professional advice before presenting their ideas to a panel of judges from the worlds of business, charity and education.

Now in its thirteenth year, the Real Business Challenge is designed to inspire and educate young people, helping them gain the skills they need to have a competitive edge in the job market.

The number of schools entering the competition has increased year-on-year, with this year’s reaching more than 100,000 students.

Gina Solimeno, ‎education programme manager at Coca-Cola European Partners, said: “Here at CCEP, we’re committed to supporting the education and development of young talent. We always look forward to seeing the skill and creativity on show from the students during the competition and were very impressed by Cramlington Learning Village’s well designed and thought-provoking campaign to support Special Olympics GB. We understand the importance of learning through experience, and it is our aim that the range of hands-on activities students undertake throughout the challenges will help educate, inspire and motivate them, as well as give them valuable insights into the world of work.”

Head judge Mike Webb, senior manager sales at Coca-Cola European Partners, said: “The day exceeded my expectations. All the students demonstrated real courage to present their ideas to a big audience. It was amazing to see such a positive attitude.”

Karen Wallin, CEO for Special Olympics Great Britain, added: “Special Olympics GB is thrilled to partner with Coca-Cola European Partners once again to further raise awareness and support for our charity and the forthcoming National Summer Games in Sheffield through The Real Business Challenge. In less than 200 days, around 2,600 Special Olympics GB athletes with learning disabilities will be in Sheffield to take part in our National Games across 20 different sports.

“It will be a celebration of sport, human spirit and personal best achievement and we can’t wait to see the projects which will be produced by the young people who participate in this brilliant initiative from Coca-Cola European Partners. To have this platform and ability to communicate Special Olympics GB’s movement and message to young people in schools across the UK through The Real Business Challenge is always an exciting prospect for our whole organisation. We are always inspired by the campaigns we see and it is genuinely exciting to see what the schools create during this year’s challenge.”