An eco-friendly tap to guard against water waste saw its young inventors crowned Future Business Magnates on a night showcasing the very best of enterprise talent in County Durham schools.
The team from Durham Johnston School landed the overall winners prize for their ‘GlowFlow Eco Tap’ on a glittering night of success for dozens of creative youngsters at the Future Business Magnates (FBM) Awards, held at the Xcel Centre on Aycliffe Business Park last Friday.
The school pupils trading under the business name of Hydreco were supported by local business partner Exposure Events to design and create their invention which captivated judges in the competition embedding a spirit of enterprise into County Durham schools.
Now in its tenth year, FBM – organised by Business Durham – saw 24 schools vying for the overall winner’s prize as well as a host of other accolades.
Businesses from across County Durham help pupils with their ideas and support them through the business planning process, introducing the young people to the excitement of running a business as well as developing real work skills.
Hitachi Rail Europe’s Sedgefield Community College team was among the winners, as they picked up the award for best financial plan during the glittering ceremony, while Norfrost by Ebac’s Bishop Barrington School won most creative design.
The theme of this year’s competition was to design a product based on light – to celebrate the United Nations’ International Year of Light and Durham’s acclaimed Lumiere festival.
Durham Johnston School’s business studies teacher David Martindale, who has been involved in the competition since it started a decade ago, said: “The pupils’ idea incorporated light so that the tap will glow bright red if you are wasting too much water.
“It’s a topical issue as more and more people are on metered water supply these days and there’s a shortage of water around the world.
“To win the Future Business Magnates award after ten years of trying was such a wonderful feeling and reward for all the team’s hard work.”
Marc Gordon, partner at Exposure Events, who supported Durham Johnston School’s successful entry, said: “We were all absolutely ecstatic to win. Every challenge they went through I brought in a different set of experts to help them such as a design creative and a public speaking coach to help with their presentation skills.
“At some point in your life you have to give something back, who knows what these children are going to go on to achieve in their lives. They are the future of business and I treated working with them very much as if I was working with a business.”
Simon Goon, managing director of Business Durham, the economic development company for County Durham, said: “Pupils, teachers and business mentors tell us that the Future Business Magnates competition is hugely inspiring for all involved, firing students’ imaginations about the wealth of opportunities enterprise and innovation open up.
“While it is great fun, it also helps tackle the urgent need to nurture the skilled and motivated young people North East businesses require to drive future economic growth.”
Last year’s winners Belmont Community School came second this year with its ‘Sports Safe-Light Level Sensor’ with business partner Waterstons Ltd.
And an illuminated constellation kit ‘Star Struck’ designed for young astronomists with the support of business partner Blue Sky Think secured third place overall for students from Durham High School for Girls.
The FBM awards event was also a night of triumph for a host of other category winners:
• Most Creative Design Idea: Bishop Barrington School for its ‘R ‘n’ R (Reflect and Retract) Laz-a-Maze’ product, a puzzle game which uses lasers. Business partner Norforst.
• Best Brand Name and Marketing Slogan: Consett Academy CAST (Consett Academy Smart Technologies) with its ‘Technologeye – See the Light’ branding for its smart device accessories to help visually impaired people and individuals with dyslexia. Business partner Derwentside Environmental Testing Services.
• Best Use of Advice and Support: Park View School and its Field of Views business for ‘Fire Flash’ – a visual fire alarm for the deaf and hard of hearing. Business partner Steelcraft Ltd.
• Best Environmental Business: Whitworth Park School for its ‘Sparkz’ app to alert customers to harmful UV light and radiation levels. Business partner Holiday Inn Darlington North.
• Most Effective Team: Seaham School of Technology for its ‘Illumin8 Creative Solutions’ disposable, durable sticky lights with business partner PlugandPlay Marketing Solutions.
• Best Use of Technology: Framwellgate School Durham and its Technovision business with its ‘Interfusion Glass’ product – an interactive car windscreen. Business partner Inter-line (North East) Ltd.
• Best Financial Plan: Sedgefield Community College and ‘Safe Sparx’, an LED safe walkway for use inside or outside the home. Business partner Hitachi.
• Best Presentation: St Bede’s Catholic School and Sixth Form Centre with its LumoLogix business and ‘Aquaduro’ bath temperature safety monitor. Business partner Profound Services Ltd.