Peter Jones names winners of nationwide enterprise competition for school children at Buckingham Palace

The team from Westborough High School in Dewsbury, Lease 2 Learn, were crowned at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace yesterday and presented with £1,000 to fund the continued growth of their business.

The team fought off tough competition – with over 2,000 children across the country going head-to-head to claim the winning title.

The six students, all in Year 11, received £280 as a start-up loan from the Peter Jones Foundation to officially launch their idea to market in October. Their business allows students, teachers and the wider community to lease and hire school IT equipment, including refurbished laptops, at a very competitive and affordable price.

Lease 2 Learn’s main aim was to create a level playing field at school, where everyone has access to the technology that they need to succeed. The idea was conceived as they discovered over a third of students at their school did not have access to a computer or laptop at home.

After months of business planning and preparation, and an intensive trading period throughout November and December, Lease 2 Learn was selected by a panel of judges based on the criteria of profitability, teamwork, business concept, sustainability and community engagement. The team had a final profit ratio of a fantastic 1,839%.

Tycoon in Schools encourages budding entrepreneurs to get involved in business by giving them a start-up loan to start a business whilst at school or college. This year, the stakes were higher than ever before, as the competition officially expanded into primary schools for the very first time.

Blue Bowtique, a team of eight primary school children from Barnby Road Academy in Newark, were runners up in the competition, after making and selling hair bows to the local community and achieving a 1,544% profit ratio.

Lease 2 Learn and Blue Bowtique also won their Key Stage categories. Other winners across the Key Stage categories included:

Key Stage 3 – The Little Acorn team from Queen Anne’s School, Caversham. The girls created handmade, decorative family trees to sell as gifts.

Key Stage 5 – Footprint, a team from The Queen’s School, Chester. The team of sixth-formers created a business to educate children on current issues such as embracing different ethnicities and cultures through creating and selling a children’s book.

The ceremony was hosted by HRH The Duke of York, KG, Patron of the Peter Jones Foundation, as part of his focus on championing entrepreneurship and ongoing support of the Tycoon in Schools competition.

Peter Jones CBE said: “It is always such a great honour to crown the winners of Tycoon in Schools at Buckingham Palace alongside HRH The Duke of York, KG, Patron of the Peter Jones Foundation.

“This year, we officially opened up the competition to primary schools, and it was incredibly exciting to meet some of our youngest Tycoons to date.

“Lease 2 Learn really stood out amidst the competition. The team blew me away with their professionalism – and most importantly, their business idea to support other students’ from their school.

“Every year we see an incredibly high standard of business ideas come to fruition – and this year has been no exception. I have been bowled over by the achievements of all the students throughout the competition, and it has certainly been the most successful Tycoon in Schools yet.”

Lukman Patel, ‎Director of Learning Business & Ethics at Westborough High school, said: “We’re honoured to be the winners of Tycoon in Schools 2016 – and incredibly proud of how hard our students worked to get here. It’s really important to educate children about running a business, and Peter Jones’ Tycoon in Schools has provided a fantastic and inspirational experience for the Lease 2 Learn team.”

Tycoon in Schools has grown by a staggering 300 per cent since it was launched in 2012, and sits at the heart of Peter Jones’ mission to put enterprise at the heart of the education system.

The impact of encouraging the nation’s young people into entrepreneurship is clear to see. According to a survey of students that took part in the initiative last year, 70% feel that taking part in Tycoon in Schools has made them want to start their own business in the future.

Those who wish to sign up for next year’s Tycoon in Schools can do so here: www.tycooninschools.com

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