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Young entrepreneurs celebrate UK’s biggest enterprise competition

Plymouth College students were celebrating in London last week after beating 73,000 hopefuls to win the top prize at the 2009 Make Your Mark Challenge finals.

The college was victorious in the 16-19 category of the UK’s largest enterprise challenge for young people. Pupils from Waldegrave School in Twickenham came first in the 14-16 category.

Thousands of students from across Britain took part in the Make Your Mark Challenge, which kicked off on the first day of Global Enterpreneurship Week on 16 November.

“The Make Your Mark Challenge is a fantastic opportunity for students to get some hands on experience of enterprise,” said Scott Cain, deputy chief executive of organisers Enterprise UK.

Mr Cain joined a panel of judges, which included entrepreneur Will King and The Observer’s economics editor Heather Stewart, inviting students to pitch their entrepreneurial ideas under this year’s low carbon theme.

The team from Waldergrave School impressed the panel with a scheme to recycle souvenir cups for neighbouring Twickenham Rugby Stadium. Meanwhile, Plymouth College took the lead with an online student planner project that would eradicate paper planners, ensuring pupils could not lose their work and always know what homework is being set.

Mr Cain added: “This year’s low carbon theme has significant relevance to all our lives and futures, and the responses to the brief demonstrate both the enterprising talents of young people in the UK and an increasing awareness of positive and sustainable change.

“There has been a very high standard of ideas this year, giving us great hope for entrepreneurs of the future. The national final proved to be a really tight contest but we were especially impressed with the creativity and consideration shown by Waldegrave School and Plymouth College.”

Plymouth College’s head of Sixth Form, Jonathan Shields, commented: “We are delighted to be crowned winners in the 2009 Make Your Mark Challenge. Our students have worked extremely hard to get this far and displayed creativity, dedication and a flair for enterprise.

“The Make Your Mark Challenge is a great opportunity for young people because it nurtures their creativity and helps them develop valuable life skills.”

(Pictured: Plymouth College’s winning team)

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