The enthusiasm for business shown by young pupils at a Middlesbrough Primary School has won them a prize of £4,438 in the 40:40 Challenge set up by UK Steel Enterprise.
The Teesville Planting Nursery, started at Teesville Primary School, can now press ahead with ambitious expansion plans.
Currently, the project uses a small poly-tunnel to propagate plants, shrubs and trees which are invariably sold-out at school events.
Now, the business plans to develop an unused piece of land in the school grounds, purchase large heated poly tunnels and propagators and build raised beds to grow all year round, whatever the weather, boosting production and sales.
A core of ten Year 6 pupils, aged 11 and 12, will take responsibility for the expanded business.
Initially, the school’s site supervisor Graeme Clark will oversee the Nursery with help from some teachers and volunteers, but all will step back as soon as the business is running smoothly.
The pupils will cover everything from planning, meetings, budgeting and costing to advertising, marketing and sales as well as working in the Nursery itself at lunchtimes and after school.
The original 10 pupils will then mentor other children from the 320-strong school. It is anticipated that, over years, the project will have an impact on hundreds, if not thousands, of Teesside’s children.
“The Plant Nursery is a simple idea but demonstrates to the children that, with a little investment and a great deal of hard work, something can be created from nothing,” said Graeme, pictured (above) with UK Steel Enterprise area manager Peter Taylor, Teesville deputy head Sharon Weston and school pupils.
“They learn a whole range of transferable skills that they would need to be the business-leaders of tomorrow but will also stand them in good stead for life.
“Everyone was over-the-moon with excitement to hear we had won and we are very grateful to UK Steel Enterprise for this support. It will help to transform the school and add such a lot to the children’s experience.”
Peter Taylor, UK Steel Enterprise’s area manager, said: “Schools and youth organisations in all our UK steel areas were invited to put their projects forward for a share of the £40,000 40:40 Challenge prize money, part of UKSE’s 40th anniversary celebrations this year.
“Teesville Primary School’s ideas impressed everyone as the project teaches skills from organisation and team work to creativity, money management and sales expertise. We are hugely committed to encouraging young people to think about business and enterprise from an early age.”
Since 1975 UK Steel Enterprise, the regeneration arm of Tata Steel, has helped thousands of entrepreneurs to set up and grow their businesses, creating more than 76,000 jobs.
There is still time to apply to the 40:40 Challenge. Applications with the organisation’s name, contact information and details of the project in less than 1000 words should be sent to HO@uksteelenterprise.co.uk by December 31, 2015.
Projects must be based in a UK Steel Enterprise area, further details at www.uksteelenterprise.co.uk/40.