Teams of budding business leaders have been put through their paces in a competition created by the Plymouth Business School and Futures Entrepreneurship Centre at Plymouth University.
Pupils from secondary schools across Devon were challenged to prepare a business presentation, with six teams then taking part in a workshop at the University and talking about their project in front of a panel of expert judges.
A team from South Dartmoor Community College in Ashburton triumphed on the day, with Marine Academy Plymouth in second and Lipson Community College third.
The competition was launched at the beginning of 2015, with schools challenged to choose and research a topic relating to the economy, environment or digital technology.
They were then invited to attend an event at the University, which included the opportunity to work alongside current undergraduate students.
Dr Hilary Duckett, Director of the Plymouth Business School, said:
“This competition was a real challenge for the pupils and one that they embraced enthusiastically and with a great degree of skill. Presenting in front of an audience is something that can only be improved by practice, and the participants have certainly taken this on board. The opportunity to network with current university students is also an invaluable one, and I hope the experience will inspire them to pursue future opportunities such as this with increased confidence and ability.”
In their presentations, pupils covered a wide range of topics, such as how micro-generation of energy can improve the sustainability of businesses, the importance of marketing mix, the importance of internet and social media to advertisers, the evolution of the iPhone, the impact of businesses on the environment and the impact of digital technology on globalization.
The innovative and engaging pieces were then presented to a panel consisting of: Dr Hilary Duckett; Dr Sue Kinsey, Senior lecturer in HR Management; Dr Melanie Hudson-Smith, Lecturer in Operations Management; Dr Tasawar Nawaz, Programme manager for Business and Business Administration and Professor Andy Phippen, Professor of Social Responsibility in IT.
The feedback from participating pupils showed they thoroughly enjoyed the experience, with many saying they felt much more informed about what is on offer at university and more confident about their own futures.
Teacher Gemma Craze, from the winning South Dartmoor Community College, said:
“The students had a fantastic day during the Business Presentation Competition event and are still buzzing from the experience. They decided to work on the evolution of the iPhone, as it was something they were interested in and passionate about, and they worked well as a team throughout their preparation to ensure they met their deadlines. Although the students were slightly daunted at the prospect of presenting in a lecture theatre, with some practice they really shone through and we are all very proud of their achievements.”