“Today is our special day. It’s when everything happens” – 13-year-old Mahmudul, looking proudly at his enterprise club mates on market day.
We’re standing next to a stall in Allen & Overy’s London building, lawyers and staff are streaming out of their offices for their power lunch and young entrepreneur Mahmudul and four other students are waiting.
Selling an array of brightly coloured mugs their classmates designed at £5 a pop, they’ll make £425 by the chime of the work clock.
The shifting sands of job markets, tuition fees and unemployment figures play on the minds of educators, parents and employers and the signs are pointing towards an economy where people create and make opportunities for themselves.
Staff from the law firm have been meeting with the club every week, introducing different aspects of business via their Artbeat programme.
MyBnk were brought in to develop the group’s skills and confidence around money management, helping them root their ideas in a business plan ahead of the big day.“They’ve got a company name and a section on the Artbeat website! It’s looking very professional,” said Mr Marston, their teacher and mentor.
“They really helped us,” Mahmudul said after our first session. “In just a few hours you’ve got us to think more realistically about our business.
The whole experience is going to help me in the future too. I’ve always wanted to be a businessman and I think when I’m older I’ll set up a company, making and selling my own products”.
Some profits will go to charity, but rest will be channelled directly back into the enterprise club as it moves into its second year.
“It’s been a great opportunity for the students to try their hand at business in the real world,” sums up Mr. Marston. “They’ve had a chance to learn from their mistakes and to learn how to work as a team.
“We’ve learnt loads of business skills like communication and organisation!” chips in Elvis, mid-Mexican wave.
This group has had a little taste of what it’s like to be an entrepreneur, they want more and are already planning their next venture with an online shop on the Artbeat website, developing a new range of products and a stall in Spitalfields market.
From small seeds……