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Rotherham named most enterprising place in Yorkshire

posted 22 Jul 2010, 06:11 by RiDO Rotherham

A town that is harnessing ‘enterprise’ to transform the aspirations of children and young people has beat off stiff competition from across Yorkshire & The Humber to be crowned as ‘The Most Enterprising Place’ in Yorkshire 2010.

Enterprising school children and young entrepreneurs from the town wowed a panel of tough, private sector judges last week to help secure Rotherham's crown as 'The Most Enterprising Place in Yorkshire.'

Primary and secondary school pupils told the panel how enterprise education was making a difference to their aspirations, and then Young Entrepreneur Luci Bennett described how she successfully developed her own fashion label, Roc and Doll.

Their stories showed how Rotherham has the complete package for developing enterprise - with Rotherham Ready inspiring children about business as soon as they start school, and Rotherham Youth Enterprise providing all the support young people need to make their business dreams a reality.

Rotherham is home to some of the most deprived communities in the region, but has been undergoing a profound shift in culture, due to almost 54,000 enterprise interventions in schools between Rotherham Ready and Rotherham Youth Enterprise in the last five years.

Rotherham Ready, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, has trained hundreds of teachers to develop enterprise in schools and colleges, and harnessed the passion of the business community to promote enterprise and entrepreneurship in education.

An astounding 103 schools and colleges in Rotherham have also achieved the Warwick Award for Excellence in Enterprise Education - the quality mark for enterprise learning.

Rotherham Youth Enterprise provides start up support, business coaching and incubation workspace for young entrepreneurs - enabling 232 youngsters to start businesses in the last five years.

Now these achievements have been recognised by the town winning the regional heats of the prestigious Enterprising Britain awards.

Now in its sixth year, the nationwide competition run by Enterprise UK through the Regional Development Agencies including Yorkshire Forward rewards cities, villages, towns and neighbourhoods that have tackled the economic downturn head on and are successfully creating jobs, boosting local business and nurturing entrepreneurial talent as the UK emerges from recession.

Rotherham Ready entered the competition in the category of 'enterprise culture' - and was supported in their 'pitch', at Yorkshire Forward offices in Leeds last week (Thursday, July 15) by Lauren Stanley, (11) from St Mary's Catholic Primary School Herringthorpe, James Wass, (13)from St Bernard's Catholic High School, Dominic Beck, (18) from Wales High School and Lucy Bennett, an established Rotherham 'Young Entrepreneur' who has her own fashion label 'Roc and Doll.'

Lauren told judges how she made a profit from a start up loan of just £5 to make a profit of £40 selling lollies.

She also managed a football tournament with school friends, raising money to hire a stadium and getting children from other schools involved. She said: "I want to use my enterprise skills and love of PE to run an Irish Dancing Academy when I am older."

And successful entrepreneur Lucy Bennett shared how she is now inspiring the next generation through mentoring children through Rotherham Ready's Young Entrepreneurs Clubs.

The group were up against tough competition in the final from enterprise projects from Leeds, Airedale and Cottingley. But the panel of seven judges unanimously agreed that Rotherham was the winner.

They said they were 'blown away' by the presentation about enterprise in schools and, which was 'professional' and 'inspirational.'

Jackie Frost, Rotherham Ready Manager and Enterprise Projects Manager for the Council said: "Winning this award is well deserved recognition for the effort and passion of everyone involved in developing enterprise in Rotherham.

"Young people in Rotherham need to be enterprising - more so now than ever - and people from education and business involved with Rotherham Ready and Rotherham Youth Enterprise have been working to make sure that young people leave school, college or university ready for the challenges and opportunities of life, and ready to help shape the economy of Rotherham.

"Developing a culture of enterprise is only possible when people from across the local authority and the borough work together to make a difference. This award has been achieved because of that spirit of team work and passion. We give our warmest thanks and sincerest congratulations to everyone involved."

Jacqui Saxon, Director of the Ultimate Balloon Company, has supported Rotherham Ready by taking part in the Make £5 Blossom project where businesses make a loan to pupils so they can start their own businesses in school, and in mentoring budding entrepreneurs through the Young Entrepreneurs Club programme.

She said: "This is absolutely brilliant news - it is about time Rotherham was on the map for this work. Being a member of the business community in Rotherham it means a lot to be able to contribute to bringing on the next generation of entrepreneurs and enterprising employees by being involved. This work is so important to the town and its future, and this award is richly deserved for Rotherham."

During August the Rotherham Team will go up against the other eleven regional finalists from around the UK for the  Enterprising Britain 2010 national title. The overall winner will then go on to represent the UK at the European Enterprise Awards next year.

John Vincent - Yorkshire Forward Board Member and chair of the Regional Judging Panel said: "The success of Rotherham Ready demonstrates what can be achieved if people work together to improve the social and economic prospects of their community.

"We are confident that their great example will encourage other organisations to do more to support entrepreneurial behaviour in the region that will continue to benefit generations to come.

"Winning Enterprising Britain for Yorkshire is a fantastic achievement and we are delighted to have been able to pick this years winner from a very strong field of enterprising places that work to bring change to their localities, creating jobs and transforming the community.

"As with previous years where the Region produced the National & European winner with Scarborough and where Hull was National runner up and featured well in the European Competition final the Regions support for Rotherham doesn't stop here - we will continue to champion enterprise across the Region and look forward to Rotherham's progress through the national finals of the competition and on into Europe."