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  • Writer's pictureSuki Fisher

Where Do Our Entrepreneurs Come From?

On Tuesday 2nd July we hosted the #GBFutureStars young entrepreneurs finals at Muckle LLP in Newcastle. The competition was launched at the inaugural globalbridge Future Stars event in May where we saw 320 students, 15 schools and 22 employers come together to connect talent with opportunity.

Supporting future entrepreneurs is a particular interest for me, as I decided to leave my career in teaching (with my own three children under 10 years old!!), in order to set up globalbridge. I am therefore well aware of the risks that entrepreneurs take and the challenges they face. To go through the processes of initial idea setup, growing the idea, funding, personal growth and the emotional rollercoaster is a hugely challenging but phenomenally rewarding experience.

The vision of globalbridge is to see young people realising their potential through a network of opportunities. Creating a competition which will not only challenge their creative thinking and presentation skills, but also their confidence and ability to fight for something they believe in, is something that will only develop young people and prepare them for their future.

The four finalists, aged between 14-16 years old, were asked to present an entrepreneurial idea. To help, we suggested it might affect an aspect of their daily lives, resolve a regional issue, or have a positive effect on the environment. However, who are we to shape the thinking of a young entrepreneur?! We simply allowed them to showcase their talent and idea in whatever format they preferred.

The following ideas were all fantastic:

1st Place

- Emmanuel College: Student delivered mentoring programmes

“young students are not skilled enough to work, we need to prepare them with experience from outside the classroom”

2nd Place

- Heaton Manor School: Student-focused financial education programme

“Teenagers who know about money become adults who know about money”

Joint 3rd place

- Durham School: Reducing plastic packaging

"The world is suffering, and we have to prepare before it is too late"

Joint 3rd Place

- North East Futures UTC: Electric, computer driven coaches

The most interesting thing I found from this competition was, that without any knowledge of their academic performance, their background or their upbringing, each young person showed that they have a bright future ahead of them. They showed that they had a passion for their idea, determination to put themselves in front of a panel and step outside their comfort zone, a strong work ethic to plan and prepare their pitch outside their academic studies and commitments. From this experience, they also learnt presentation skills, communications skills, the ability to answer questions under pressure and to think on their feet. Not to mention the encouragement and feedback they received and the huge boost in confidence they will have gained. Tell me an employer who doesn’t look for these traits in their organisation?! It also once again made me consider how we measure talent and how young people are able to evidence their skills!

Whilst we know that academic performance is a key identifier in certain areas, it is not a key identifier of success in the work place. As described by the Emmanuel College presentation, students need the opportunity to learn and demonstrate a wide range of skills alongside their academic ability.

The internet has blown the world of careers wide open and opportunities are genuinely everywhere. What currently isn’t clear for young people is how to connect with those opportunities or who offers the opportunities they are interested in. From the work we are doing with schools and students, we also know that young people struggle to evidence all their skills and abilities via current, paper based application methods. The process of identifying talent and connecting early with talent needs to improve if we hope to reduce the skills shortage. globalbridge can address all of these needs.

The globalbridge young entrepreneurs competition was a fantastic celebration of future talent in the North East region. A huge thank you to the sponsors of the event and prizes; Muckle LLP, Cundall, NBS and People Science Consulting. Paul Lancaster, Founder of Newcastle Startup Week also donated two 5 day tickets for next year’s startup week. An amazing event, built to help business owners and entrepreneurs succeed. Our two winners will surely benefit from such a great network.

Ben Mason: CEO & Founder, globalbridge

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