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Exciting & Fun

The Ryman National Enterprise Challenge is an exciting and innovative enterprise programme open to all secondary schools in the UK. Taking place over the course of a day it is open to full year groups and split into two categories; KS3 and KS4. Working in teams of six, the students work on fun and engaging real life business challenges set each year by businesses supporting the challenge.


Theo Paphitis

Ryman & Challenge Ambassador

The challenge is supported by a long-standing partnership with Ryman and Challenge Ambassador, Theo Paphitis, entrepreneur, retail magnate and well known for his appearances on nine seasons of Dragon’s Den, said “some of the best pitches I’ve seen on The Ryman National Enterprise Challenge over the years have been even better than the ones I saw in the den!”

Theo is the main judge at the national finals event where students also have the opportunity to quiz him in a riveting Q & A session.


Educational & Inclusive

As well as promoting the spirit of entrepreneurialism and transferrable skills, taking part in The Ryman National Enterprise Challenge can enable schools to meet some of the Gatsby benchmarks; giving every student who takes part a meaningful employer encounter through the real-life business challenges, as well as developing key skills that are valued in the workplace and will prepare them for life in modern Britain, which is a key focus of the government’s career strategy.

With the aim for all students to be the best they can be, the challenge promotes equality and is suitable for all ability levels.


The Ryman National Enterprise Challenge

The Ryman National Enterprise is the UK’s largest school’s enterprise education competition attracting over 450 schools and 200,000 students since its first challenge, launched in 2013.

High Profile Support

The Ryman National Enterprise Challenge is part of the Inspirational Learning Group, whose aim is to provide innovative and enterprising off-timetable events for schools, colleges and universities; engaging, inspiring and motivating students to be the best they can be. The full year group programme has received high profile support from Theo Paphitis and Lord Sugar and businesses that include Ryman, OCR, Staffordshire University, Alton Towers, Gandys,  3AAA, Inspiring Learning, NCS and University of Football Business (UCFB).

First Class Facilitation

The full day challenge is scheduled on a date to suit each school and delivered by our engaging and inspirational expert team of first class facilitators. All resources and requirements are provided, enabling schools to simply enjoy the challenge.

Delivered through video messaging, students are set real-life business challenges from our supporting businesses and receive a message from Challenge Ambassador, Theo Paphitis. Guided by our expert team, students then work on the challenge throughout the day, before pitching their ideas for a chance to represent their school at the national finals event. The winning team from every school is guaranteed entry to the national finals.

Stella Neal, Head of Business, Enterprise Centre Lead, said, “when I briefed the organisers, I told them that I didn’t want 6 winners and 130 losers on the challenge day. Every child had to come out with something. And they did. They had a fair chance to compete; reluctant students were skilfully engaged; they enjoyed the variety of activities and they all achieved something.

Uptake of Business GCSE rose by 20%

The uptake of Business GCSE rose by around 20% this year such that now, almost 70% of Year 9 are studying business. We have more A level students than ever for both Business and Economics, and the local business that NEC introduced us to has proven to be a real champion for our school, even to the point of hosting a factory visit for our Year 10s and 11s to complement the curriculum.”

Winning Teams

The students have the opportunity to pitch their ideas again before exploring the national finals venue. At this stage in the competition, judging is carried out by representatives from external businesses. Teams must win a judging pool to secure a place on stage to pitch to the main judges at the finals.

An exceptional event and true celebration of enterprise, the national finals day offers high quality entertainment. School teams come together brimming with excitement and anticipation as they compete against each other on the ideas they have worked hard to create and a chance for their team to be crowned Ryman National Enterprise Challenge winners!

Theo Paphitis, delighted!

After nine seasons on Dragon’s Den, Theo said, ‘pitching isn’t easy, but it’s a fantastic opportunity. More often than not I invested in the people and their passion, rather than the person I couldn’t connect with, even if they had an even better idea than the last person.’ Having seen some talented and brilliant ideas that have made him sit up and take notice, Theo said he is constantly delighted and surprised by the passion on show at the finals each year.

The Inspirational Learning Group

Pushing boundaries

This is the aspect of the Ryman National Enterprise Challenge I enjoy the most; seeing the students push their boundaries and attempt something really new to them.

Rebecca Clarke, Willilam Stanier

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