Tuesday 1 July 2014 saw hundreds of school students flocking to the beautiful Trentham Estate for The National Enterprise Challenge (TNEC) finals. This is the second year of the competition, involving over 20,000 pupils, 600 of which made it into the finals. The schools competing included Staffordshire’s own Blythe Bridge High School, Trentham High, Sir William Stanier Community School from Crewe, and Wolstanton High School. Cousins Ben and Michael Dyer created TNEC as a means of highlighting to young people that business and entrepreneurship exists on a level playing field. They actively advise that location, background, and academic abilities shouldn’t negatively influence your aspirations. Ben Dyer said, “the students have really engaged with the challenge and hopefully one day the government will decide to support this initiative”.
The enterprising outdoor events team from Dove Valley approached Mitten Clarke as a potential sponsor of the event. We wanted to
support the young entrepreneurs of the future, and felt our involvement with TNEC would be ideal. We were also thrilled to
support the award for Most Enterprising Girl in the Key Stage 3 group, which the TNEC team then featured on their website.
When speaking to one pupil about their future, they responded: “this competition has made me think about more options”. Others
commented that it “was something different”, which strongly demonstrates the students’ support for varied learning. When asked
what the students gained from taking part, the popular skills learnt included teamwork, confidence, and personal belief.
Despite some nerves, the knowledge displayed by these young people was astounding. We have lots of admiration for the students presenting
before former BBC star of Dragons’ Den, Theo Paphitis. Theo’s reaction demonstrates the level of these students’ abilities; he said: “I’m bloody
terrified! If this is the crop coming into business, I’m going to have to up my game!” He continued to offer entrepreneurial guidance in his
Q&A session. His most resonating gem was: “Business isn’t complicated, it’s the people that complicate business. I’ve seen today
that there is a huge appetite for it, and it just needs to be kept simple.” Preconceived ideas are not always right. We know that accountancy
can sometimes be hard to understand, so like Theo, we like to try and keep things simple. Many young people might believe accountancy isn’t
an exciting career, but the opportunity to address this issue at the TNEC finals with the students, proved invaluable. It was great to talk
to the pupils about their aspirations and to open their minds to accountancy. With ITV2’s Ben Hanlin showing off some of his amazing magical trickery, and 2014 Britain’s Got Talent’s semi-finalists Sweetchix, (not to mention a lovely lunch!) the day proved to be enjoyable for all. To be part of such an event, filled to the brim with positivity and promising potential, truly was something special. We’d like to congratulate all the students who took part in the challenge, and we would welcome the opportunity to support similar initiatives in the area going forward.

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