Talented students from 15 schools from across County Durham gathered at Beamish Hall Hotel for the final of the County Durham Future Business Magnates competition.
Organised by Business Durham, the business support service of Durham County Council, the competition is designed raise aspirations and develop enterprising skills in young people from across the county.
In this annual competition teams of Year 8 students are given the opportunity to collaborate with mentors, engage in real-world business challenges, and gain invaluable insights into the business world.
Now in its 18th year Future Business Magnates continues to inspire and empower the county’s next generation of business leaders.
These aspiring entrepreneurs tackled a wide range of challenges, displaying creativity, adaptability, and problem-solving skills in this year’s theme of ‘Solving today’s problems with tomorrow’s technology’.
A panel of judges comprising industry leaders, business experts, and community influencers had the crucial task of assessing the participants’ business proposals and crowning the winners.
The judges evaluated each team’s ability to demonstrate market understanding, feasibility, and a compelling vision for their business ventures.
“We were very impressed by the quality of the ideas presented by the students,” said Sarah Slaven, managing director of Business Durham, who sat on the panel.
“It’s inspiring to see such enthusiasm in young people to develop solutions to current issues they feel passionate about such as the climate, cost of living pressures, and mental health.
“We hope that this competition has helped to nurture the next generation of business leaders in County Durham.
“Their dedication, determination, and entrepreneurial spirit have been truly inspiring.”
Cllr Joan Nicholson, chair of Durham County Council said: “The Future Business Magnates competition provides a unique opportunity for businesses and schools to come together to develop young people’s employability and enterprise skills.
“The competition helps both businesses and schools understand the challenges faced by entrepreneurs and the skills required to succeed in business.
“Future Business Magnates and similar initiatives are integral to our ambitions to support people to excel in business and their careers, and encourage entrepreneurship and enterprise, which we set out in our Inclusive Economic Strategy.”
Emerging as the winners, the team from St John’s Catholic School & Sixth Form Centre impressed the judges with their innovative product, Plant-a-Pencil, a pencil you can plant in soil (once used).
The panel was impressed with the teams aptitude for identifying and solving modern challenges through imaginative solutions.
Notably, the runners-up from Park View School with The Food Saver a device to check if food is safe to eat, and in third place was North Durham Academy with their wearable charging device, Solar Soldiers.
This event was made possible through the generous support of sponsors, mentors, and community partners, including Co-op, TEDCO, Entreprenising, Stalemate, EI Company, BTS Fabrications and Waterstons, who all recognise the importance of investing in young entrepreneurs and helping them realise their dreams.