Winners in a hotly contested schools competition to find the next generation of business stars have been announced by Metro Mayor Dan Norris

After months of hard work, students, judges and local businesspeople, came together at the “Company of the Year awards” for Young Enterprise.

Open to secondary school kids aged 13 to 19, the Young Enterprise programme has seen six student teams from schools and colleges across the West set up and run their own fully fledged companies.

The annual competition – now in its 60th year – aims to inspire the region’s youngsters to see themselves as business leaders and consider varied careers.

The teams have already taken on challenges including a Dragons Den, to win cash funding from a panel of top business leaders in the West. This week’s grand final was the last hurdle for the youngsters. After manning a trade stand, the teams presented their new and innovative business to an expert panel including some of the West’s biggest and best business brains like Western Gateway’s James Cooke, Alison Edgar MBE, and Vicki Foster from St James’s Place.

From a business designing and creating its own jewellery to one spreading joy whilst caring for the environment – aiming to put an end to plastic waste for good – this year’s ideas are varied to say the least. The students have been supported every step of the way by Young Enterprise ‘business mentors’, and their teachers.

Mayor Dan Norris joined businesses leaders to present the awards and then got to check out the trade stands. He said: “Inspiring the next generation of young entrepreneurs is vital for the West of England region. I’m pleased to help hand out these awards and to hear about the young people’s creative and smart ideas. It just goes to show how inventive students are, and how the West is in bright and capable hands.”

The triumphant teams will represent the South West region at Young Enterprise’s Company Programme UK Final early next month with the opportunity of progressing to the European Final in Turkey in July.

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