A team of students from Greenhead College were named overall winners in this year’s Umph! business and enterprise competition, which took place at Huddersfield Town on Tuesday 2 July.
The winning team was made up of four year- 12 A-level business studies students, Zhi Hui Zhao, Saakshi Barman, Chris Gibson and Ben Bentley.
Greenhead College beat over a hundred contestants from sixth forms and colleges across Yorkshire to win the award. Using SimVenture business simulation software, as well as giving presentations and being tested on their business knowledge, the contestants were judged by a panel of experts that included business advisers from organiser Grant Thornton. Specialists from law firm Bond Dickinson, Huddersfield University and Fantastic Media were also on the judging panel alongside Town’s very own Andy Booth, Tracy Nelson, Ajin Abraham and Katie Barraclough.
During the day-long competition, the contestants received input and advice in intimate workshop sessions from a line-up of a dozen entrepreneurs from the region, including Huddersfield Town Chairman and Card Factory founder, Dean Hoyle and Huddersfield-based entrepreneur Nick Glynne, founder of club partner BuyItDirect.com.
Winning team member, Zhi Hui Zhao, said: “We are learning about the theory and the academic side of business on our course at college but meeting the entrepreneurs, who have started businesses from scratch, and made a success of them, was truly inspirational. As well as giving us a much better idea of how business actually works in real life, I think it has also given us a clearer ambition that running a business is something that we could all aspire to do ourselves.”
Huddersfield Town’s Club Ambassador Andy Booth commented:
“It was a real pleasure to be a part of Umph! once again this year; it’s so encouraging to see so many bright business minds in our region at our schools.
“As the winners explained, the feedback I got from the students on the day was very positive. They all obviously knew the theory behind business, but to hear first-hand experience from the likes of Dean Hoyle and to be out in a simulated business environment will be very helpful.
“Huddersfield Town is delighted it can play a part in bringing through the ‘entrepreneurs of tomorrow’.”
Sandra O’Neill, Umph! organiser and head of business development at Grant Thornton, said: “It’s great to see so many bright young people with a passion for business. The Greenhead team had clearly picked up a lot of useful pointers from the entrepreneurs here on the day and were able to put those into practice when it came to creating a successful business using the SimVenture software.”
She added: “Entrepreneurial skills are vital to employers and to Yorkshire’s economy as a whole, but too many youngsters leave education without an awareness and understanding of business and innovation, despite the best efforts of some fantastic, forward thinking teachers like the ones we have seen here today. We are enthusiastic about forging closer links between business and education and instilling in young people an enthusiasm for business that can’t be generated in the classroom. We want schools and colleges to look outward and work more closely with local businesses and for businesses to think about how they can interact with schools.”
The competition is part of Grant Thornton’s Educate to Innovate programme, which is taking the lead in encouraging entrepreneurialism and bringing together business and education in the region. The overall winning team was from Greenhead College, Huddersfield; Allerton High School in Leeds came second and the Brooksbank School, Elland, was third.
For more information on Umph! Go to www.umph.uk.com.