Stockport charity Seashell Trust is cashing in on the popularity of TV’s The Apprentice by sponsoring the search for business leaders of the future – while raising its profile and much-needed funds.
The charity has joined forces with Stockport business initiative Gander as it launches its Young Business of the Year competition.
Teams of students from Aquinas, Cheadle and Marple, and Stockport colleges will receive a start-up fund of £50 from Seashell Trust to set up a company and come up with creative ways to make as much money as possible in the allotted time.
The challenge includes finding ways to raise awareness of the work Seashell Trust does as well as raising money.
Initial investments will be repaid to the charity at the end of the project along with any profit. The funds will be used to support the profoundly disabled young people which study and live at the Seashell Trust in Cheadle Hulme.
Andrew Deighton, Gander co-ordinator, said: “We are delighted to be partnering Seashell Trust in this inaugural business challenge.
“It offers students from our partner colleges the opportunity of running a real business and gaining insight from local companies into the experience of activities such as planning, marketing and sales.”
Mentors from the Stockport business community will be available to offer the teams up to five hours of advice during the project.
The 50 students taking part have until the end of the year to make a much money as they can.
The teams will then present their business plan and results in the Seashell Trust ‘boardroom’ in February next year.
Prizes will be awarded for the most successful business in each college with an overall winner for the best idea and execution.
Wendy Bray, from Seashell Trust, said: “We wish all the young businesses the best of luck.
“While no one will be getting fired, we are hoping the experience will help the students get hired when they are looking for employment in the the future.”
Carol Mayall, senior tutor and head of careers at Aquinas College, said: “We are very pleased to support the Seashell Trust in an innovative way where both students and the charity benefit.
“Coming up with a business idea, marketing it and selling a product or service in order to raise money requires different skills.
“Students from a variety of courses have volunteered to support such a wonderful charity to help develop their employability skills.
“We have accounting students watching the finances, design students supporting the marketing of the project, computer and IT students looking at the social digital side and business students looking at operations.
“All students though are developing their communication and team working skills which are so important in business.”
Jan Hill, from Cheadle and Marple College, said: “We are delighted to be collaborating with the Seashell Trust.
“The Cheadle and Marple College Network recognises the value of engaging with employers to support curriculum delivery, enhance progression applications and develop personal and work skills.
“The BTEC Level 3 students participating are required to organise an event as part of their course and this project enables this to be achieved in a real world activity with guidance from business mentors while supporting the fundraising and community awareness of the Seashell Trust.”