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Wednesday 10 October 2012

Schools set for 2012 Enterprise Challenge semi-finals

Young entrepreneurs aim for a place in the final of the annual Premier League competition

  • Scudamore and the then Business and Enterprise Minister Mark Prisk at the 2011 final

  • Pupils from St George's School in Blackpool won the Challenge last year

Entrepreneurial youngsters from across the country will be doing battle this week to reach the final of the 2012 Premier League Enterprise Challenge.

The annual event is in its fourth year and aims to encourage and develop a variety of business skills including problem-solving, creativity, innovation, team-work and enterprise.

Each football club with a Premier League Enterprise Academy is invited to take part in the Challenge, which is always set by Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore. The full 2012 Enterprise Challenge is at the bottom of this page.

Schools put forward a team of Year 9-11 pupils, who take part in local competitions run by the clubs. The youngsters work on the brief and then deliver a pitch and presentation to a panel of experts in a similar style to the "Dragons' Den" television programme.

"In the short term it made we really focus and inspired me to do well in my GCSEs, but in the long term it changed my life"
Josh Tills

The winning team goes on to represent the club and their school against other budding entrepreneurs on a national stage.

A total of 19 teams are set to compete in the semi-finals at Aston Villa's Villa Park on Tuesday and Newcastle United's Sport Direct Arena on Thursday, with the six winners going forward to the final which will be held at the Westminster Conference Centre in London next month.

The nine clubs represented at Villa Park are: Arsenal, Aston Villa, Birmingham City, Derby County, Fulham, Norwich City, Queens Park Rangers, Tottenham Hotspur and West Bromwich Albion.

Josh Tills, who was the winning captain in 2010 and who sat on the judging panel in 2011, has given his five-point plan on how to be a success in the Challenge and in business.

1. Have confidence. You have to have a lot of confidence to go and speak to people who you’ve never met or spoken to before and that pressure heightens when you have to do that against people you’re competing with. So you've got to have a lot of assurance to come up and present your ideas. What I've learnt subsequently is that confidence is an outstanding attribute in business.

2. Believe in your team. You've first of all have got to have self-belief in yourself to do the job but then also believe in the strength of your team, because if you're as strong as that unit then there’s nothing really that can break you. Work well as a team then you should be able to answer any questions from the judges, withstand it and move on. You can better yourself from that experience.

3. Love what you're selling. You need to have faith in your idea because you have got to remember that you are trying to sell that idea to the judges. They are not going to believe it unless you love it, so believe what you've got is the best thing since sliced bread.

4. Make that presentation watertight. You have got to know what you’re pitching like the back of your hand, because you are going to be receiving questions from the judges and opinions from those in the room. However, if you know your proposition inside out then you can respond positively with an answer instantly and then move on in a more positive way.

5. Enjoy it. When we met Richard Scudamore at the Premier League offices last year one piece of advice he gave us was about lifelong learning; it is important to carry on learning new things and having new experiences. That was true of the Enterprise Challenge. It's so important to enjoy it because second of the 2010 experience was sensational. In the short term it made we really focus and inspired me to do well in my GCSEs, but in the long term it changed my life because I now have different hopes and ambitions.

St George's School, representing Blackpool Football Club, won the event last year. Their prize included tours of the Premier League offices, the House of Commons as well as a visit to Nike, a Premier League Partner and supporter of the Premier League Enterprise Academies, to design their own trainers.

The inaugural event in 2009 was won by Everton, with Tottenham Hotspur taking the title the next year.

The Premier League Enterprise Challenge is one of a suite of activities that the football club PLEAs deliver in schools to help address the enterprise agenda including qualifications at Levels 1 and 2.

The 2012 Premier League Enterprise Challenge

Your Club has been heavily criticised by a television programme which used a 'mystery shopper' format to investigate the following three areas of Premier League customer service:

1. The ease and customer experience of purchasing tickets to a Barclays Premier League match.
2. The welcome that attending fans receive at a stadium on match day.
3. The experience of purchasing and the quality of the food and beverage on match day.

The 'Customer Service League Table' created by the programme ranked you bottom. The media loved the story and the criticism and comments are still rolling in, with fans and others using Facebook, Twitter etc.

Your CEO wants to see an improvement and is prepared to invest but wants to see a return on the investment. Provide a fully costed proposal and plans for each of the three areas, including:

1. Identifying where the problems exist
2. Finding out what the fans want
3. Improving the quality of all the services
4. Boosting sales
5. Measuring success.

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Key Points

  • 2012 Premier League Enterprise Challenge semi-finals take place this week
  • 19 teams are taking part in events in Birmingham and Newcastle United
  • Six winners will go through to final in London next month