Students from JCSC get enterprising with Reaction
The workshop aimed to provide local young people with better business knowledge and enable them to learn about idea generation. Students from James Calvert Spence College were clearly eager to learn, giving up three days of their own time from their school holidays.
The event was led by Jane Nolan, entrepreneur in residence at Newcastle University, as well as Angie McLean from Fast Forward Now, covering a number of aspects integral to modern business success.
The students’ brief was to develop an original business concept from scratch – identifying a commercially viable idea, carrying out market research, and delivering a mock sales pitch to a group of local entrepreneurs on the final day of the three day course. And according to Jane, some of the business ideas the students came up with ‘‘clearly had potential’’.
She commented ‘‘all four student groups pitched an interesting idea. However one really stood out to me and the local entrepreneurs, as it had both commercial potential and proposed to put something back into the local community. The basic premise centred on running a ‘youth centre for over 60s’ whereby older citizens could engage in a variety of activities, while interacting with people of a similar age. There is clearly a gap in the market for something like it.’’
In a review session on the final day students were asked what they felt they’d learned during the workshop, and many commented how it had really made them reconsider future opportunities in enterprise.
16 year old Glen, from Amble, who pitched an idea centred round a new aquarium and water sports centre, stated ‘‘until now I’d never really thought about starting my own business because I wouldn’t know where to start. This event has shown me how to go about doing it, and now I’m thinking I might try to start up my own IT consultancy when I finish at school.’’
John Barnes, deputy head teacher at James Calvert Spence College, commented ‘‘the event has been great for the students, teaching them skills they might not ordinarily get the chance to learn. Everyone really enjoyed it and the students have been a credit to themselves, and the school.’’
Reaction is a community interest company, promoting and facilitating entrepreneurship throughout Northumberland, and Sheila Cook, Enterprise Manager, commented ‘‘I am really pleased with how this workshop has gone. The entrepreneurs who were kind enough to come in for the final day really engaged the students, helping them develop their ideas, and inspiring them to see that although setting up your own business is a daunting task, it is possible.’’
‘‘Workshops like this show that everyone has the capacity to be enterprising – they just need to be given the opportunity to develop their potential.”