Teams of young entrepreneurs from sixteen schools across Scotland, including Lochgilphead High School, travelled to Edinburgh to take part in the final of a competition to discover the next generation of enterprising young people.
The competition is one of the biggest highlights of the year for Young Enterprise Scotland. Area heats took place throughout the year to identify winning teams from across the Scottish regions who set up and ran their own business.
The finalists attended the all-day event at Edinburgh Corn Exchange where they set up their market stalls and gave the judges a presentation of what they had achieved by showing their entrepreneurial spirit.
Argyll and Bute was represented at the final by Gulp, a team from Lochgilphead High School who were delighted to be awarded the Lyreco Best Trade Stand Award.
Gulp aims to reduce the use of one-use plastic bottles and encourage people to stay healthy by drinking more water. The company sold fruit infuser water bottles in a variety of colours and designs, with an option of being personalised.
The company was run by four sixth year pupils, Sioned Phillips, Chloe MacKinnon, Ben Smith and Caitlin MacDonald.
The trade stands were judged on the creativity, engagement, aesthetics and appeal of the stand, as well as how well it tied in to their overall branding.
Competition was strong, with Gulp judged the winners for their simple, beautiful and individual stand which really told the story of the learning experience the young people had enjoyed.
Marie Leck, one of the judges from Young Enterprise Scotland explains “Gulp had created a very simple, but highly effective stand. I believe it could have earned a place in a High Street boutique. I loved the fact that they had developed it from its earlier incarnation to include an easily assembled/disassembled frame. The reusable nature of their frame tied in very nicely with their whole company ethos of sustainability.
"They clearly had ownership of the stand and its development. They were engaging and natural in telling me their story and this is an enormous factor in a successful trade stand. They were very worthy winners.”
Councillor Yvonne McNeilly, Argyll and Bute Council's Policy Lead for Education, said: "I'm so proud of the pupils behind Gulp. What a great business idea, and one that ties in so nicely with sustainability and the ongoing drive to reduce the amount of plastic we use in our day-to-day lives. Congratulations to them for their win, and to the teachers and staff at the school who supported their efforts."
Caitlin MacDonald, Managing Director of Gulp, said: “Our team is very creative and we had a number of vivid ideas that we combined to create our perfect trade stand. Each member of the team has put in a lot of effort throughout the growth of our company and for us to get some recognition for the hard work was an amazing end to a great day.”
Anne Devine, Principal Teacher at Lochgilphead Joint Campus, added: "We are immensely proud of our Young Enterprise company and delighted at the well-deserved recognition of their efforts at the national finals. They have embodied the spirit of enterprise, demonstrating creativity, resilience and the ability to build a strong and determined team. Their independence and initiative are examples to all future entrepreneurs."
Set up in 1992, Young Enterprise Scotland (YES) supports around 15,000 young people each year, helping them develop their business knowledge and entrepreneurial skills. By advocating and adopting a ‘learning by doing’ approach and delivering tailored accredited training programmes, YES helps young people to become more employable and ultimately job ready.
Geoff Leask, Chief Executive of Young Enterprise Scotland, said: “As the leading enterprise engagement organisation for young people in Scotland we work throughout the year to inspire and equip young people to learn and succeed through enterprise through our broad range of programmes. This event is an opportunity to celebrate some of the great achievements by young people, their educators and our volunteers."
Young Enterprise Scotland is keen to encourage more schools to participate in the Company programme and can link teachers up with volunteer business advisers to support the teams. For more information visit http://yes.org.uk