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Friday 21 February 2014

Enterprise Challenge: 'We're now focusing on the semi-finals'

Premier League Enterprise Challenge semi-finalists taking shape as clubs select their teams

  • Burnage Media Arts College will represent Manchester United in the Enterprise Challenge

  • The winning team selected by Tottenham Hotspur had the chance to meet Brad Friedel

  • Hindley High School impressed the judges at Wigan Athletic

With the semi-finals of the 2013/14 Premier League Enterprise Challenge drawing ever closer, Premier League and Football League clubs up and down the country have been busy deciding which teams will represent them in this year’s tournament.

There are 23 clubs taking part in the fifth running of the Enterprise Challenge, which tasks students with developing ideas to solve a real-life business scenario set by Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore. This year’s challenge, which focuses on developing a football club’s revenue streams from international markets, is detailed in full here >>

Since the launch of the 2013/14 event at Stamford Bridge in November, teams of young people have been formulating ideas and then presenting them to panels of judges in club competitions. The teams will then take part in the two semi-finals which will be held at West Bromwich Albion on 11 March and Sunderland on 13 March. The teams who come through those tests will take part in the showpiece Enterprise Challenge final at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on 30 April.

The Enterprise Challenge is the highlight of the Premier League Enterprise Academy, which is run together with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and uses the knowledge of football clubs to engage youngsters in enterprise and business activities. By this summer, more than 90,000 young people will have been engaged by the scheme since it began in 2008 with a pilot project run by Middlesbrough FC. From this year, the Academy will also seek to develop business skills among "hard to reach" students.

Here, we take a look at some of the groups that have made it through to this year's Premier League Enterprise Challenge semi-finals…

Manchester United

The team from Burnage Media Arts College say they will be working hard to fine-tune their presentation after being selected to represent Manchester United at the semi-finals.

Class mates Razwan Iqbal, Mubarak Mohammed, Ish Haaq Khan, Zaigham Ali Shan and Nabil Khalid impressed the judges with their idea of soccer schools in Africa and America as well as a mobile app, enabling fans who cannot physically get to Old Trafford to go on a virtual tour of the venue.

"I would like to discuss their presentation with the media team at Manchester United"
Ian Fox

"It's marvellous but we're now focusing on the national semi-final; we have that winning mentality and hopefully it will all fall into place," said Zaigham, who is 15-years-old. "I'm going to expect all the other groups to be very well prepared so we need to make sure our group is beyond immaculate and that there are no mistakes."

Nabil added: "To do something as a team, to accomplish such an award is very good for us; it helps a lot with your confidence and your social skills. This is a victory in itself but if we win in London that would be a very, very big victory for us all and be a big helping hand in life in what we want to do in our futures."

And the team's idea struck a chord with Manchester United head of digital media operations Ian Fox, who was on the judging panel for the heat.

"They had some great ideas, some of which were aligned to the club’s strategy going forward; a club app is right on the money and I would like to discuss their presentation with the media team at Manchester United."

Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur's winning team is made up of five young people from a community project run by the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation. The Skills initiative offers a comprehensive sport and education programme for the young people of Haringey. 'Team Skills' beat 19 other teams from schools and community groups with their idea of hosting football tournaments in the United States and Africa. The proposal involves the eight winning teams coming to Britain for a six-a-side tournament at the club’s training ground during a week-long stay which would also involve them taking part in community activities.

"We were impressed with their enthusiasm and the way they engaged with the judges," said Tottenham Hotspur Foundation education officer Gareth Dace. "They really believed in their idea and that came through in the presentation. They were absolutely overwhelmed when they found out they had won."

As part of their reward, the team went to the Spurs training ground and met American goalkeeper Brad Friedel, who gave advice to the youngsters about football in his homeland, what US fans are looking for and what regions might be good for Tottenham Hotspur to set up. Team Skills, who are made up of youngsters from three different schools, were then able to watch first-team training as well as get autographs from the players.

Wigan Athletic

Hindley High School saw off competition from nine other teams to secure the honour of representing Wigan Athletic in the semi-finals. The team of Connor Ashworth, Matthew Gaskell, Jess Kirk, Ellen Oakes and Emily Wardle won through after coming through a regional final held at the club’s DW Stadium. The final featured the five best teams invited by coaches from the Wigan Athletic Community Trust, with youngsters pitching to a panel of judges made up of club staff, including the head of marketing, commercial and retail Neil Ryan.

"To have to do presentations to a group of people is never easy and all the students did really well," he told the club website. "They had all put a lot of effort into their proposals and came up with some interesting concepts and I’m sure Hindley will do really well in the rest of the competition."

The Hindley High School's proposal involves targeting the large Honduran community in Miami through existing Latics players Roger Espinoza and Juan Carols Garcia and ex-players Maynor Figueroa, Hendry Thomas and Wilson Palacios.

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