Entrepreneurs have pitched their businesses in a bid to reach the county final in the annual Young Enterprise challenge.
Students at a number of schools have been running their own companies over an academic year, making and selling their own products.
The best young business brains in the South Downs were judged at the joint area final at The Body Shop, Littlehampton, last Tuesday, alongside those from Arun and Chichester, with winners progressing to the Sussex final on May 3.
The team from Davison High School for Girls in Worthing, which set up Lunaria and sold hand-made flower crowns, was named best company in the South Downs.
The team from Seaford College in East Lavington, which set up To Dye For and sold tie-dye t-shirts and socks, won best company in Arun and Chichester.
Madeleine Mills, Young Enterprise manager, said: “We had some great companies started up by students in the West Sussex area this year and the judges were incredibly impressed with the products and services they had developed and the presentations they gave at the awards.
“The awards highlighted how the Young Enterprise company programme can inspire young people to become the entrepreneurs of tomorrow and help them develop practical business skills while they are still at school.
“I particularly want to congratulate the students from Davison High School for Girls and Seaford College, who won best company for their areas.”
For the first time this year, Young Enterprise was also able to award best company team programme to Oak Grove College in Worthing. The special college’s company produced a range of greetings cards using artwork created by pupils in the school.
Michael Mercieca, chief executive of Young Enterprise, said: “The South Downs and Arun and Chichester joint final marks the first stage in a national competition to find this year’s best Young Enterprise company. The winners will go on to compete in the regional final and possibly the UK final in London on July 6.
“It’s the ultimate measure of many months of hard work from the students, representing their creativity, resilience and business acumen. You don’t get this stuff from a text book and we are greatly encouraged by our research which shows that 95 per cent of company alumni go on to education, employment or training – seven per cent higher than the national average of 88 per cent.”
More than 14,500 young people aged 15 to 19 from across the country have set up and run a real business over the academic year as part of company programme.
Students have made all the decisions about their business, from deciding on the company name and product, to creating a business plan, managing their finances and selling their products.
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