Next generation of UK social entrepreneurs celebrated by Peter Jones Foundation and Pearson

10 November 2020

Three student winners of Be The Future challenge announced, after submitting business plan pitch designed to tackle social or environmental issues.

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Today, leading learning company Pearson and the Peter Jones Foundation announce the three winners of their inaugural Be The Future Challenge, set up to encourage young people across the UK to explore their entrepreneurial spirit and develop skills to become young entrepreneurs.

Students aged 11-18 (KS3-KS5) in schools and colleges across the UK were challenged to create and pitch a social enterprise idea.  To enter, students had to complete a form outlining their idea, plus create a 60 second ‘elevator pitch’ video. The enterprise had to be designed to make a profit, alongside addressing a social or environmental issue linked to one of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Pearson and the Peter Jones Foundation partner together on a series of courses, qualifications and competitions, aimed empower and develop the next generation of business leaders.  The panel of 4 judges from the two organisations reviewed 30 entries from 20 schools and colleges, assessing how far they met the following criteria: creativity and innovation; viability; sustainability and impact. 

The winners will each receive a personal online enterprise masterclass this term, hosted by the Peter Jones Foundation, with the opportunity to meet and hear from leading social entrepreneur, Joana Baptista.

The winners are:

Key Stage 3: Renew – Rooks Heath College 

Gabriela from Rooks Heath College demonstrated an innovative approach to tackling plastic-pollution with her app idea. Renew is a litter picking app allowing communities to come together in organised litter picks.  The removal of the waste is then managed through a designated service. The judges praised her conscientious research and clear business strategy ensured that her pitch was robust and well-delivered.    

Key Stage 4: Bowerbird Clothing - Roundwood Park School 

Maisy from Roundwood Park School showcased an acute knowledge of the fashion and textiles industry with her business, Bowerbird Clothing. Bowerbird is a clothing rental business for ethically sourced and made clothing looking to eliminate clothing waste to landfill. The judges thought Maisy’s conscientious research and competitive analysis demonstrated that her business was well-positioned to deliver a viable and exciting solution to challenge the fast-fashion industry.  

Key Stage 5: Natural Flow – Preston Manor School 

Natural Flow is a business created by a team of students from Preston Manor School that is dedicated to eradicating period poverty. Natural Flow is a business focused on raising awareness for period equality and tackling period poverty, both nationally and in developed countries. It will achieve its aims through the production of low-cost, renewable and biodegradable sanitary products. The judges noted that the Team had a clear understanding of the scale of the issue and its social and ecological impact – their combination of purpose and passion ensured that they were deserving winners.

Commenting on the announcement, Cindy Rampersaud, Senior Vice President of BTECs and Apprenticeships at Pearson, said:

"Congratulations to all three winners of the 'Be the Future' competition. It's inspiring to see these students coming up with innovative, practical, and thoughtful business ideas to support the UN's sustainability goals.

"The business and enterprise sector offers a wide range of exciting and rewarding career opportunities, and plays an important role in creating access to careers for many.   I think the winning students will benefit hugely from the insights, advice and mentorship that will be provided by the industry experts supporting the Peter Jones Foundation masterclasses."

Bill Muirhead, Managing Director at the Peter Jones Foundation, said:

"Since launching our Tycoon Enterprise Competition in 2012, we have seen an increasing number of young entrepreneurs putting purpose at the heart of their business proposition. The social and ecological consciousness of these young entrepreneurs is inspiring, and we were delighted to extend our partnership with Pearson through the Be The Future Challenge and ask young people how they would use business to make the changes that they want to see in the world. The quality and scope of the entries is testament to the creativity and determination of the next generation of social-impact business leaders."

KS3 winner, Gabriela, from Rooks Heath College, said:

"When I heard about the competition, I immediately wanted to take part because I’ve always been worried about climate change and pollution; especially about fossil fuels and plastic pollution, and wanted to change it. Also, I’d already came up with a business idea in a school project. I was really surprised and happy when I heard the good news, as I thought it hadn’t gone through; but I am really excited to meet the competition creators and even eventually start my social enterprise."

KS4 winner, Maisy, from Roundwood Park School, said:

"I am very pleased to have won this competition and would like to thank the judges for their kind words. I think social enterprise is very important as it can help improve the world."

KS5 winners Disha and Sujata, from Preston Manor School, said: 

"We are both extremely pleased to have won this challenge. Our social enterprise is based around a topic we are both truly passionate about and hope to aid in addressing and abolishing this societal issue. We are glad our efforts have been recognised and are both very hopeful to see change in the near future."

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