Over the last three weekends, the twelve ‘budding entrepreneurs’ took part in enterprise workshops, hosted by myself and Martin Wing, Chairman of X-Forces Enterprise. They were ultimately tasked with coming up with unique business ideas in small groups to pitch to our fearsome panel of ‘Dragons’. Business ideas included PPE, Online Sports Clothing, Gaming and Youth Programmes for Disadvantaged Areas of Society. We were so impressed with the presentations, and how much time, effort and preparation went into them. They were outstanding!
A short while ago, I spoke with my good friend David Middleton, Senior National Account Manager at the DWP and Flight Officer in the RAF, who mentioned his Air Cadets were socially distancing until the end of August, and asked whether it would be possible to do a programme for them on enterprise skills. Considering how successful the first two in-person Enterprise for Life® programmes were, Martin and I jumped at the chance and agreed to volunteer three of our weekends in May to deliver the programme virtually.
Supporting young people and supporting them on enterprise, whilst being an advocate for entrepreneurship and intrepreneurship, has been in my DNA for a very long time now, long before X-Forces’ inception. If it wasn’t for enterprise I don’t believe I’d be where I am today. Put simply enterprise has seen me through both prosperity and adversity in equal measure.
The programme offers an insight into business and inspires an entrepreneurial approach to support confidence and an understanding on how the economy works. The interaction between different sectors: Business, Government, Charity Sector and Public Services provides initial context. It’s been a privilege sharing that with these young minds, helping them form those connections and giving them the opportunity to excel and be ahead of the game, especially when we don’t know how the economic climate will look in five, ten, fifteen years. Enterprise for Life® – Changing the world of business for the future.
We were grateful to be joined by guest speakers:
And I would like to say a big thank you to our wonderful judges:
It was fantastic to read such positive feedback from the cadets:
“Probably one of the best opportunities I’ve had, and it’s been a pleasure getting to know you all! Thank you to everyone who made this possible!” Adam
“I’d like to say the same I really appreciated this opportunity and enjoyed working in this friendly atmosphere with such amazing people and I hope we can continue this in the future and hopefully see each other soon!” Joshi
“Absolutely amazing – thank you to every single one of you for making this such a memorable and enjoyable experience.” Kush
Flight Lieutenant Dan M. Laidler BA(Hons) MCCT RAFAC, said:
“Opportunities like the Enterprise for Life® programme are challenging to organise in the best of times, but the way in which Ren and the X-Forces team quickly put together a virtual programme for the cadets of Durham/Northumberland Wing and Newcastle Royal Grammar School CCF has been amazing. The programme offered cadets an entrepreneurial insight into the world of finance, marketing and setting up a business venture.
Cadets from across both the RGS CCF and Durham/Northumberland Wing came together via Microsoft Teams, meeting each other for the first time in the virtual world and quickly bonding to form four groups each with a unique business idea. The cadets couldn’t wait between sessions, spending time meeting up to work on their ideas and forming strong friendships as well as brilliant pitches which wowed our guest judges.
I couldn’t be prouder of the cadets and grateful to X-Forces for their time in running this programme for us. Feedback from the cadets has been so positive and they have all taken away the skills they gained on the course to utilise in their future endeavours.”