'I feel I can do bigger and better things'

28 Mar 2017
Pingle School. student Kyle, Premier League Enterprise Challenge

A member of Pingle School's victorious PL Enterprise Challenge team describes how the competition has helped him

Back in the autumn, Kyle, a Year 9 student at the Pingle School in South Derbyshire, was introduced to the Premier League Enterprise Challenge.

Little did he know that five months later, he and his team would be celebrating winning the national competition and receiving praise from entrepreneur Theo Paphitis.

"Derby County Community Trust came into our school one day and we took part in a little presentation," Kyle says. "I was thinking about going into football or business but not exactly like this."

Kyle was one of five students selected to make up the team that began work on meeting the Enterprise Challenge brief set by Premier League Executive Chairman Richard Scudamore - which this year was to increase their club's international fan base and its income streams for the USA.

"When we first started, I was nervous to see what the co-ordinator at Derby would think of me and what we would be doing," Kyle says. "But as we did more and more of it, I got comfortable speaking to him.

Watch: 'We worked really well as a team'

"The first time I presented in front of him, I was quite nervous. I didn't want to make a mistake. But every time we did it I got more confident."

The team worked hard to develop their business ideas, which included making a link between Derby and the Los Angeles Rams, and after being selected as the team to represent Derby County, they booked their place in the Enterprise Challenge final by winning one of six regional play-offs held in stadiums across the country.

Their reward? The chance to present those proposals to the likes of Theo Paphitis and former Chelsea defender Graeme Le Saux at the head offices of EY in the heart of London.

"When I arrived at the final I was really nervous," he says. "It was quite frightening standing on the stage because you think everyone is judging you. But as you get into it, you start to feel comfortable."

There was no real need for Kyle to get anxious, however, as he and his team beat five other schools to become the eighth winner of the PL Enterprise Challenge with Paphitis calling them "articulate, self-assured and very impressive".

"At first I was shocked," Kyle says. "There were so many good presentations, I thought we would have no chance. I am so happy.

"It's happened because of hard work, determination and teamwork. We didn't really argue much, we just got on with it."

Having learnt a wide variety of new life skills during the Enterprise Challenge, Kyle will embark on his GCSEs in September with one eye on possibly forging a career in business.

"My confidence levels have definitely changed," he says. "I have learnt to work in a team, to respect everyone else's opinions and to speak in front of people. I probably would not have been able to do that five months ago.

"I feel proud for where I have come from. I feel good about myself and I feel I can do bigger and better things now."

See: PL Enterprise Challenge gallery

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