Manchester school wins enterprise challenge

WINNERS: The Manchester Academy team with their trophy, a £3,000 cheque and Dragon's Den presenter Evan Davies

A MANCHESTER school has won a national Muslim business competition after venturing into the Dragons’ Den.

A team of pupils from Manchester Academy was crowned the Apax-Mosaic Enterprise Challenge 2010 champion at the national final in London on Tuesday 10 March 2010.

The challenge aims to foster an entrepreneurial spirit among secondary school students and the winning team was awarded £3,000 towards new school equipment.
Atifa Shah, mentor to the Manchester Academy team, said: “I’m delighted the team from Manchester Academy has won the Enterprise Challenge and I’m so proud of their achievement.

DRAGON: James Caan stopped breathing fire for an afternoon when he met the Manchester Academy winners

“It’s been an inspiration to help them through the competition and it’s really given them more confidence in their abilities, along with the opportunity to think about entrepreneurial career paths beyond secondary school.

“I was amazed at their determination and how they integrated my advice into their winning strategy. The award is most certainly well deserved, they seem to have taken it all into their stride whilst I’m bubbling with excitement and not being able to congratulate them enough!”

The challenge was organised by Mosaic, a community initiative that aims to empower and raise the aspirations of young British Muslims and their peers living in socially deprived areas of the UK through access to successful role models and learning opportunities.

The team of six students aged 14 to 15 beat more than 140 teams across the country to make it to the final, and after a tense last round against five other finalist teams (King’s Heath Boys School, Feversham Girls College, Brondesbury College for Boys, Handsworth Girls College, and Small Heath School) Manchester Academy were named the overall winner.

With a profit of £6.3million, the winning team won with a convincing lead of £400,000 net profit at the end of the hour long final heat.

As part of the award the team spent an exciting afternoon experiencing life as high-flying business entrepreneurs. The first stop for the afternoon was a guided tour of BBC Television Centre with BBC World presenter Mishal Hussain, followed by a private meeting with Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling. The day ended with a mentoring session with Dragon’s Den’s James Caan who imparted his business wisdom to the team.

Attendees at the awards ceremony, which was held at international law firm Lovells LLP, included Dragon’s Den presenter Evan Davis, Khawar Mann and Peter Englander, Partners at Apax Partners, and heads of business from Mosaic’s mentoring network.

Nazim Rashid, staff member at Manchester Academy: “It was such a wonderful, exciting event for the winners.

“Enjoyment was had by all and admiration to the celebs that took time out from running the country, running a business empire, reading the news and sounding off on the radio to make our Manchester Academy students feel so special.

MONEY TALKS: The Manchester Academy team visited 11 Downing St and met chancellor Alastair Darling

“It was an absolute pleasure to be a part of. The students have been buzzing about it and have been telling all their friends and everybody else about who they met yesterday; and the school is absolutely thrilled!”

The Apax-Mosaic Enterprise Challenge gives young people the chance to access mentoring from successful business men and women and develop their entrepreneurial skills by setting up a ‘virtual business’ online. Using enterprise software the game puts students into realistic business scenarios where they develop valuable skills such as how to market new products or identify business competitors through set challenges.

John O’Brien, Managing Director of Mosaic said: “The UK offers fantastic opportunities for budding entrepreneurs from Muslim communities and from all social backgrounds, to succeed and make a positive contribution to their local communities and the country’s economy.

“We hope that this challenge has given young people, who might not ordinarily get access to local business role models, the chance to seek new career opportunities and realise their potential. Manchester Academy are deserved winners of the challenge as they illustrated how much they had learnt from playing the game and the advice their mentors had given them.”

Star of BBC’s Dragon’s Den and CEO of Hamilton Bradshaw, James Caan has supported the challenge, acting as mentor and adviser to the competition’s young hopefuls. The winning team members and their mentors had the opportunity of a lifetime when they meet James in person following their victory, hearing at first hand James’ advice on the secrets of becoming a successful entrepreneur.

“I am extremely impressed by Mosaic and highly motivated by the work that they do,” Khan said.

“It’s been a great experience to be a part of the Enterprise Challenge and it was a privilege to meet the winners from Manchester Academy, who are no doubt the entrepreneurs of the future!”

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One Response

  1. I proud on my school which Manchester Academy

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