Students thrive in the pressure-cooker of business life

MAY 31, 2016 / Articles

Students thrive in the pressure-cooker of business life

The Year 11 BP Business Challenge roared into life at Westmount School in 2016 with workshops held at our Tasman and Auckland campuses.

About 150 students participated in the event, which is the first level of the Young Enterprise Scheme. In a pressurised simulation, they must move quickly and methodically from problem to entrepreneurial solution. They assess themselves for roles within a business team structure, and work on a business plan to present to real-world judges. They are evaluated on the quality of the plan, including its financial, production and marketing components, and on the quality of their presentation skills.

All this in just three days!

Students took to the challenge with enthusiasm and evidenced their creative, entrepreneurial potential. Starting with a problem related to what can go wrong on a family picnic or playing sport, the students iterated a range of solutions before prototyping a single product design.

The winning products were a medicated chewing gum, and a painkilling medicine for children that was packaged in the form of a lego block.

Feedback from the Young Enterprise workshop facilitators and judges was extremely positive. They were impressed with the students’ dedication to the task and passion for business.

Feedback from students was also very positive. “It was an awesome experience and a major learning curve for all of us. We look forward to more of these events happening in the future years,” say the Timaru Year 11 Girls, who participated in the Tasman workshop.

Glennie Foster, a community member from the Kaipara Campus, observed the first two days of the workshop at the Auckland campus. She was impressed at how students responded to the “concentrated learning times and huge lesson in teamwork. It was a very worthwhile and motivational course.”

She says the first day was focused on getting to know your team and working out each other’s strengths. By the second day, the noise levels were livelier as the teams began to work on problems. A highlight was the auction, where students had to purchase a site for their business plan presentation on Day 3. “They clicked on pretty quickly to the auction process, attempting to buy multiple sites and make a quick profit by on-selling to the losing bidder. The bidding became quite frenzied and the facilitators loved it. They said they’d never seen such an action-packed auction. What amazing entrepreneurs these students are!”

On Day 3, the teams had three hours to set up their sites. Marketing tactics included colourful balloons, nice coffees, and freebies.

Regional principal Phil Muir, who has championed the introduction of Young Enterprise this year, says it can bring out the best in students. “It’s an authentic, collaborative pressure-cooker simulation. All students took to it really well, and there were some truly outstanding participants.”

He extends massive thanks to all involved in organising two very successful events.









Auckland Campus - getting settled for ... below - the very competitive Auction phase of the challenge, where students bid for their business location.























The winning team in the South Island event - Mediblock.












Students prepare for their presentations to judges.