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Budding entrepreneurs have been encouraged to “think outside the box” if they want to follow in footsteps of TV tycoon Alan Sugar.

Around 100 pupils from Year 9 at Denbigh High School took part in an Apprentice-style event designed to hone their business skills.

The youngsters aged 13 and 14 were split into of six and given the challenge of setting up a business centred around tourism, engineering or a totally new product.

The day-long workshop was organised by Llwyddo’n Lleol – Succeeding Locally – project which is funded by the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government to help young people across Conwy and Denbighshire develop their career paths.

Two mentors, who have both set up their own businesses, Mold fashion designer Jane Davies, and Colwyn Bay graffiti artist Andy Birch, were on hand to offer advice and guidance as students wrestled with issues including marketing, design and finance.

Organiser Jenni Edwards, Llwyddo’n Lleol Project Officer for Denbighshire, said the idea is to create a culture of enterprise amongst young people.

She said: “We want students to think about their options and to look at self-employment and starting up their own businesses as a future career path.

“During the session students work together to come up with a concept, find the resources to help bring that concept to life and then pitch it to business people”.

“They need to think outside the box, and be creative. There are so many skills, from team working, listening skills and numeracy to financial awareness that these young people need to think about for any future employment or self-employment.

“The young learners were allocated to different roles within the team, such as a managing director, finance director and a company secretary.  It’s up to the students themselves to decide who is best suited to which role.

“They also come up with a company name and logo. And that name couldn’t be one already in use or one too similar to one already in use. It needs to be a memorable and appropriate name”.

Student Ryan Roberts, 14, was chosen to be his team’s managing director and said the Llwyddo’n Lleol project had been a brilliant experience.

He said: “It has really given us all some ideas for the future. Ideas I had, perhaps, never considered. It has made me think about the future and the difficulties and rewards of setting up my own business.

“It’s also been good working as a team of six. We have all had to come up with ideas and listen to each other’s ideas and thoughts.”

Fellow team member, Isobel Lloyd, 14, who was chosen to be the team’s marketing officer, said she had learnt a lot about team-working.

She said: “We came up with the idea of making a board game based on engineering. It made me realise you have to listen and work with others and work as a team if you are going to be successful.

“We all had different thoughts but things worked better when we worked together and discussed things properly. I have really enjoyed the day and it has definitely got me thinking about the future.

“I had never considered being my own boss or running a business but maybe that would be a good thing and something I should consider.”

Jenni added: “It’s been an amazing workshop at Denbigh High School. Some of their ideas are both intuitive and remarkably well thought out. It’s quite clear to me that the concepts of enterprise and entrepreneurship are well and truly alive in the schools of Denbighshire”

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