BU helps to celebrate innovation and enterprise in Dorset

Posted on Friday, February 8 2013

Homemade bath bombs, cuddly sock creatures and rubber ducks were just some of the innovative products that pupils created as part of the Enterprise and Skills Enterprise competition.

The competition, run by the Enterprise and Skills company and sponsored by Bournemouth University, saw more than 120 schoolchildren from across Bournemouth work in teams to come up with their own business ideas.

The teams – made up of pupils ranging from Year 7 to sixth form age – had been working since October to come up with names and products and try to sell them for a profit at various trade fairs and events.

A panel of judges then decided on winners of categories such as Best Trade Stand and Best Company Report at a celebration event for the students, their parents and teachers at Bournemouth Central Premier Inn on Thursday night.

The judges included Professor Jim Roach, Dean of the School of Design, Engineering and Computing at BU, and BU Product Design graduate Simon Phelps, who is now managing director of Poole–based company Fluvial Innovations.

Infused, a team made up of pupils from Ferndown Upper School, were named Bournemouth University Company of the Year, and presented with a trophy by BU Vice–Chancellor, Professor John Vinney.

Year 13 pupil Dominic Keeley, 17, was managing director of Infused – who decided to make personalised photo-frames, cushions out of recycled t–shirts and take professional photos to make money.

He said: “We learnt how to run our own business, and so many other things – like how to run board meetings, how to go out into the public and try and sell, as well as how to make products and market them.

“I heard that they were running the competition and realised it could help me with things like getting into university. It gives young people the opportunity to do something that is almost missing in today’s society.”

The schools taking part were Bournemouth School for Boys and Girls, Bishop of Winchester Academy, Parkstone Grammar School, Queen Elizabeth’s School and Ferndown Upper School.

With business names like ODD one out, Innover, IndyBees and Aquilla, the teams made money selling products including handmade Christmas cards, home–made fudge and personalised baubles.

Professor Vinney said he was impressed by the quality of the business ideas and products the young entrepreneurs had come up with.

“It’s amazing,” he said.

“The style and the creativity of the presentations they gave, as well as the ideas for their products and just the way they have gone about it is really impressive.”

He added: “It is brilliant to help support this sort of enterprise in the region. I am proud that BU is part of driving creativity and innovation in the county.”