Watch out Alan Sugar, there’s a new group of entrepreneurs emerging from St. Brigid’s College in Carnhill and they mean business.
A group of year 13 students from St. Brigid’s, who go by the name of ‘Pendulum’ took first prize at the recent Young Enterprise trade fair held in the Foyleside Shopping Centre last month and if everything goes according to plan they could take first prize at the Northern Ireland Young Enterprise Awards in Belfast next Wednesday.
The Young Enterprise scheme promotes entrepreneurship within schools right across the north. Participating groups are asked to come up with a team name, a product and a business plan. The scheme is very similar to the BBC television show ‘The Apprentice’.
This year, the St. Brigid’s College team came up with name ‘Pendulum’ and set out to create a product to help young children to learn how to tell the time. After much deliberation, the team developed ‘Tick Tock the Learning Clock’.
The clock was designed for children aged four years and older and it helps children to develop the skills they need to tell the time.
The team made 100 clocks (50 blue and 50 pink) and they retailed the product at £7.99. Of the initial 100 clocks produced, only four have not been sold.
“It’s a remarkable achievement for the team,” said LINK teacher and head of IT at St. Brigid’s College, Mrs. Fiona McAlinden.
“The boys and girls worked really hard on virtually every aspect of this project and I think it shows - not only have they designed and produced a product that parents and primary school teachers want to buy but they have also learned all about the skills of presenting in front of an audience - they have made their school very proud,” she said.
Fourteen Year 13 pupils made up of the team. There was a mix of girls and boys.
Emily McCarron, who was appointed as the group’s finance director, explained how they set out to raise the money needed to manufacture and develop the clocks.
“There was £100 left over from last year’s Young Enterprise team. We also raised £125 from selling shares in our company in school and we also raised about £150 from a cake and bun sale - we put all of the money together and put a plan in place to ensure it would work.”
Impressively, the group recruited the help of a local joiner who cut the wood needed for the each of the clock faces.
The group then contacted local graphic design company, ‘Lermagh Graphics’, who created the vinyl clock face.
After all of the components had been completed, the group of students set about manufacturing the clocks and selling them in school and at the trade fair.
“We wanted to do something to show people that we are proud of our school and show them how hard we work,” said Aimee Jennings who was in charge of ICT.
“Some people outside have a negative perception of our school but we beat off competition from schools from all over the north west and we won the best product on show and we won the best company at the trade fair - we were over the moon when that happened,” said Aimee.
Eimear Gillespie, who was in charge of Human Resources, said that she would recommend the Young Enterprise scheme to next year’s lower sixths.
“This was a great scheme. We all became friends and whilst we were working it felt more like we were having fun. We all made a great team and when we won it was amazing.
“I hope we can go on and win in Belfast next Wednesday. I would definitely recommend this scheme to the pupils coming behind us next year - it’s brilliant.”
Chloe McCool was ‘Pendulum’ company secretary. Chloe said the Young Enterprise scheme helped to develop her confidence and added that their success would not have been possible had it not been for the help and guidance given by Mrs. McAlinden.
“I learned so many things about myself on the scheme - I hope we can continue with our momentum next week at the big awards in Belfast.
“Mrs. McAlinden was brilliant. She helped us so much and I think the rest of the group would agree that we wouldn’t have got half as far as we did without her.” she smiled.
‘Pendulum’ will compete at the Young Enterprise NI Gala Celebration next Wednesday in Titanic Belfast.