Ethical Enterprise Challenge celebration

Student members of school co-operatives from all over the country met Apprentice finalist Claire Young when they celebrated success in the Ethical Enterprise Challenge during Co-operatives Fortnight. Claire came along to the event, held at Blackwell Court International Scout Centre, Bromsgrove, to help with the judging and award the prizes.

The Challenge was organised by the Co-operative College for the Co-operative Business and Enterprise Network sponsored by the Co-operative Group.

The students presented the projects they had run to promote understanding of ethical trade and co-operative values in their schools and communities, whilst developing business skills at the same time. Each group set up their own trade stand and took it in turns to run educational activities for the other participants based on their enterprise idea.

Selling hand-made jewellery from Africa, raising money for a children’s hospice, and setting up a farmers market were some of the ideas the students came up with when they were asked to set up their own ethical business. After running their businesses for a few months many are keen to continue next year.

All the schools enjoyed working on their projects while learning important values and skills at the same time. They all agree they’ve been able to promote the ethical trade through their businesses and raising awareness about it.

“Each time a customer purchased or enquired about the jewellery we explained our ethical project and why we where doing it. This helped to promote ethical trade and values,” said a student from Sutherland Business and Enterprise College.

The groups also faced everyday businesses problems like team working or stock selling. One student from St Benet Biscop High School said: “We have worked really well together and have come up with some amazing ideas, though at times we were too enthusiastic and talked over each other.”

For some other projects time, money, and members commitment have presented some difficulties for the fledgling businesses. “The tips we would give a group just starting a project like this would be to make sure that you have enough time to do it. Also, to make sure that you are commited to what you are planning to do,” said a student from Whalley Range Sixth Form.

“It was an honour to win so many awards but the greatest honour was working alongside the other schools who all deserved to share the top place. It was amazing to see all the diverse ideas the schools had thought of and the activity session was brilliant,” said Sarah Palmer, a teacher from Fulston Manor School.

“All the students who took part really enjoyed the event,” said Julie Thorpe from the Co-operative College. “They all said they’d love to come back again next year when we are planning to open up the event to lots more co-operative schools.”

The following awards were made:

Best Overall Project Fulston Manor School, Kent
Best Presentation St Benet Biscop Catholic High School, Northumberland
Excellence in Co-operation Whalley Range High School, Manchester
Values in Action Whalley Range High School, Manchester
Community Impact Sutherland Business and Enterprise College, Telford
Most Innovative Business Idea Fulston Manor School, Kent
Greenest Business Fulston Manor School, Kent

Pictures of the event

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