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Thursday 11 October 2012

In their own words: 2012 Enterprise Challenge semi-final reaction

The Premier League's education initiative is a hit with young entrepreneurs and teachers

  • Alexandra College of Enterprise was one of the three schools to make it to the final

  • Government advisor Shaun Bailey gave an inspirational speech to the young entrepreneurs

  • St Mary Magdalene Academy give their presentation at Villa Park

  • Aylsham High School students pose with the semi-final judges

  • Highlands School represented Tottenham Hotspur at the Enterprise Challenge semi-final

Read the full 2012 Premier League Enterprise Challenge semi-final report >

The first 2012 Premier League Enterprise Challenge semi-final took place at Villa Park this week with three schools being selected for the final in London next month.

The students have worked on a challenge set by Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore and had to present their ideas to a panel of judges. spoke to a selection of students, teachers and special guests to get their views on what makes the Enterprise Challenge so valuable to young entrepreneurs.

Shaun Bailey, Special Adviser to the Prime Minister on Youth and Crime.

What I've taken from this event is how big business is finding a way to connect to a very small community. That’s one of the problems a government has: reaching down to the smallest parts of the community. But big business, with this kind of innovation, has shown that they can and they do it very well.

Paul Lewis, Assistant Director to Lord Young and member of semi-final judging panel

The chair of our judges summed it up when he said that it was a really tough brief because it was about improving the customer experience but not at the expense of the commerciality of the business. For them to unpick the brief and meet five core objectives was tough and across all of the bids they all succeeded in that respect.

At that age I could not have done what they did. They were brave and talented to do that. I have really enjoyed it and good luck to them in the final.

Serena Scibetta, Highlands School team member (representing Tottenham Hotspur)

It was such a good experience, even if we didn't get through. We learnt loads of new things about how to run a business. I was shaking but the nerves showed how much I cared about it and I am so happy.

We have worked so hard, every night we were practising until 10pm. We were going through it and through it, recording ourselves and watching it back, we put so much effort into it.

It has showed me how much work it takes to do things like this but it has showed how much that work pays off and what a good experience it is.

Ravi Masih, Aston Villa's Community Relations Manager

It was a privilege to host the event. It’s another way to show our support for the great work of the Premier League.

When you see what the kids are putting forward it really inspires you. We want to encourage cultivating young minds and doing things like this helps. Football engages kids and the power of the Premier League and Aston Villa brand helps inspire. That's the key thing. It inspires and opens up opportunities.

The kids representing Aston Villa are coming back and presenting to us and sharing their ideas. That’s an important part of this too, that they come back and have that connection with the club and programmes like the Enterprise Academy help to cultivate it.

Clare Forman – St Mary Magdalene Academy acting head of business and economics (representing Arsenal)

The students had to work together as a group and as the time scales have been short they did a lot at the weekend. It’s really forced them to take responsibility for their own work, which is important.

It's also good from an academic point of view. It feeds off their enthusiasm for business. I have noticed that since we have been doing this they been more engaged. It’s nice to see the students out of the classroom and to see all the ideas they have come up with.

This has been really good for building their confidence for when they leave school. That might be for an interview or a presentation for a job or for college.  It's also great for their CV to show that they have gone beyond the bare minimum of doing their GCSEs.

Robin Russell, Aston Villa's Chief Financial Officer

The youngsters will learn all sorts of things about how the world outside the classroom works. Hopefully we have got some kids out there that will get the taste for business and football. Who knows, in the future some will no doubt want to pursue a career in football, not on the field necessarily, but in one of the myriad of office functions that are needed for a club to work.

This scheme is wonderful. We have quite a big community department and, at any one time, we might have up to 110 projects running concurrently that are, by definition, very local, which is exactly as it should be. It's actually rather nice to have something that we can get involved in that has a national dimension to it, and it complements what we are doing nicely.

Tiffany Morton, Alexander College of Enterprise team member (representing West Bromwich Albion)

It's amazing. I’m lost for words. This experience has been phenomenal; the feeling knowing that we have won and gone through to the final is amazing.

I have learnt to work in a team as well as pitching an idea and the different aspects you need to put across to make it good. I would like to be a teacher and this will help with talking in front of big groups.

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Key Points

  • First Premier League Enterprise Challenge semi-final held at Aston Villa this week
  • Students, teachers and guests give their thoughts about the value of the initiative
  • Six winners will go through to final in London next month