Richard Branson backs Young Enterprise
- By Jack Preston -
- Jul 04, 2012
The Young Enterprise national final took place in London yesterday, with team Vitamin Boom, from Balcarras Academy in Gloucestershire, emerging victorious with their unique baobab based tea product.
The competition saw over 25,000 students battle it out to become one of 13 teams representing their region in the grand final, with the heats seeing some great ideas unearthed – in particular at the London final.
The event received many plaudits from high ranking figures such as Business Secretary Vince Cable, who was keen to point out the importance of Young Enterprise in passing on skills to the next generation: “By investing time and effort into our young people now, we will be able to develop the next generation of entrepreneurs who can help take the UK forward into a bright economic future.”
As well as Dr Cable, praise was forthcoming from Richard Branson, who had recorded a video message for the finalists. As well as congratulating the students for their hard work he was able to offer some advice, telling a story about his own entrepreneur adventures as a teenager.
"I started in business at 13 together with my best friend Nik Powell (who later became my business partner) trying to grow Christmas trees in a field near my home in Sussex. We chose them because we thought they would grow quickly and would be ready to cut down less than two years later. Over the spring holidays we planted 400 seedlings, then went back to our boarding school and waited for our fortune to grow,” explained the Virgin Group founder.
“We had worked out that if the trees grew to 6 feet tall, we could sell them for 2 pounds each, generating 800 pounds in profit - not bad from our initial 5 pounds investment. But when we returned home that summer, we found that rabbits had eaten all the saplings and our plans were ruined!”
Not one to be deterred Branson picked himself up and tried again, which is hopefully what our young entrepreneurs will go on to do. If you’d like to find out more, visit the Young Enterprise website.