Young Enterprise team win London and Kent Company of the Year Final
Following months of hard work, including product development, presenting to leading industry experts and even learning to sew, St Francis Xavier Catholic Sixth Form College’s entrepreneurial students have been crowned London and Kent champions in the Young Enterprise UK Company of the Year Awards! They will now be competing in the National Finals on the 6th June.
The team of entrepreneurs consists of business students Daniel James-Proffitt, Anthony Banton, Gerald Peralta Bonilla, Denzel Brown and Amenhotep Cousins. Together they go by the name Byakuren, which is the Japanese word for White Lotus (nothing to do with the TV show apparently!).
The product they have developed is the Draft Dodger, an ingenious and environmental solution to the current cost of living crisis. Draft Dodgers are handmade and individually sewn draught excluders made from recycled furnishing fabrics and filled with recycled mattress foam. Just one Draft Dodger can save an average family £75 in a year, keeping the heat in and the draughts at bay.
With the support of their Centre Lead Ciaran Graham, Byakuren learnt how to source materials, manufacture the Draft Dodgers, calculate costs and create marketing strategies. The team then took their Draft Dodgers to the Young Enterprise Fair at Spitalfields Market to hone their selling skills, before taking part in the Young Enterprise local final in Central London along with seven other south London schools and colleges. After a rigorous round of presentations and questions from the panel, they were announced as winners!
Following their success, Byakuren progressed to the Central London final, held at financial services company Euroclear in the City. Despite tough competition, including North London Collegiate School and Putney High School, Byakuren won the Best Presentation and Best Company awards. As a result of this fantastic achievement, they joined the other winning teams from across London in the Young Enterprise London and Kent Final.
In the London and Kent Final the team were competing against the strongest teams in London, including Wimbledon’s King’s College School, Channing School in Highgate and Bexley Grammar School. After demonstrating the Draft Dodgers on a trade stand alongside other competitors, they presented their business plan and were interviewed by business leaders from major global companies, including KPMG and Goldman Sachs. After much deliberation, the judges announced that Byakuren and their Draft Dodgers were the winners of the Young Enterprise London and Kent Best Company Award!
The team will now progress to the Young Enterprise National Final on the 6th June. They are currently working hard to fine tune their presentation and interview skills before competing against the best young entrepreneurs in the country. Everyone at St Francis Xavier Catholic Sixth Form College is rooting for them and we are hugely proud of their achievements.
Sharon Davies, CEO of Young Enterprise said: “At Young Enterprise, we are passionate about creating meaningful opportunities which support young people to build confidence and critical skills that have real potential to enhance their futures. We really believe that giving young people opportunities to develop and apply new learning within a practical, real-world setting has the potential to make a real contribution to the UK’s future productivity, benefitting them, their families, their communities and the economy overall. Taking part in Company Programme helps to prepare young people from all backgrounds for the world of work. It has been inspiring to see so many young people demonstrating their enterprising mindset while working with their peers to set-up and run their Young Enterprise business.”
Graham Thompson, Principal of St Francis Xavier Catholic Sixth Form College said: “The Young Enterprise Company Programme is a fantastic initiative and St Francis Xavier Catholic Sixth Form College has supported it for many years. Throughout that time our students have gained invaluable life skills from being part of the competition. We are thrilled that this year’s team have been so successful and we wish them the best of luck in the National Final.”