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Businesses urged to back school entrepreneurs

Businesses across Shropshire are being urged to back the next generation of entrepreneurs as more than 180 schools head to Telford for the finals of a pioneering national enterprise competition.

The Ryman National Enterprise Challenge Finals will be held at Telford International Centre on July 4.

The venue hosted a supporters' event highlighting the benefit to businesses of being involved in the competition.

Companies from across Shropshire attended the reception, which heard from competition founders, Michael and Ben Dyer, of the Inspirational Learning Group, students taking part and companies already supporting the UK's largest schools enterprise and employability challenge.

During the finals, 180 schools from across the UK will be in attendance and more than 40,000 students will have taken part in the challenge this academic year.

Mike Dyer, of the Inspirational Learning Group, said: "It was brilliant to see such a great turnout from the business community from across Telford and the surrounding areas, all sharing our passion for developing the skills of our young people and getting them ready for the 'world of work.'

"We would like to thank Global Freight Ltd, Nick Jones Wealth Planning and Telford & Wrekin Council who have all given huge support, which has given the highest number of schools participating from any one large town since our inception."

Nicole Gunter, managing director of Halesfield-based Global Freight, was on the panel of judges in 2016 and is again supporting the finals this year.

"It's great to be involved with The Ryman National Enterprise Challenge and supporting the young people that take part. Last year I was a judge at the national finals in Doncaster and it was great to see the confidence and great ideas that the young people have when pitching.

"I believe that it is important for business owners to give back to the community and to give the young people an engaging real life challenge such as this one."

Businesses can sponsor teams at schools with the challenge split into two separate real-life business challenges, one aimed at Key Stage 3 students and the other aimed at Key Stage 4. The challenge is open to all UK secondary schools with a good representation from all types of schools including academies, private schools, state schools and SEN schools.

Ryman launched its Key Stage 4 challenge for 13-15 year olds earlier this year, encouraging students to take on the role of the marketing team at Ryman andcreate its first App. The students have been asked to consider in detail the Ryman brand to create something the customer will want to use daily. The marketing and technical elements of the App will be crucial.

Since 2013, more than 100,000 young people have taken part in the challenge, and the team is anticipating working with over 200 schools and 40,000 young people in 2017.

Mike added: "The final is a real celebration event and will include a Q&A session with our celebrity ambassador and judge Theo Paphitis."

Former Dragons Den star, Ryman chairman and challenge ambassador Theo, will judge the final entries in the summer of 2017.

He said: "Helping school children arm themselves with business skills from an early age is increasingly important for the future of the UK on the global stage. The Ryman National Enterprise Challenge is a fantastic way to introduce kids to the skills needed to succeed in business and in life, and teachers and parents should encourage their kids to enter."

For schools looking to book the challenge or companies looking at getting involved in supporting the event, please visit www.nationalenterprisechallenge.co.uk or call 01952 608480.

P{icture: Michael and Ben Dyer with Theo Paphitis 



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