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Bright Stars 2016



Posted: March 14th, 2016

David Allen

Tiny business tycoons in primary schools across Cumbria have been experiencing the excitement of running their own mini-companies for the first time as they took part in the Bright Stars competition organised by the Centre for Leadership Performance.

Every Bright Stars school is given £50 with one simple instruction – to make it grow through investment and creativity over the course of 8 weeks.

The 22 taking part schools were paired with businesses in their local area who have been on hand to offer support, advice and guidance throughout the competition as the children work hard to turn their £50 initial investment into the highest amount possible for their chosen charity.

The aim of the Bright Stars competition is to open young children’s eyes to the excitement of entrepreneurship and business in a fun accessible way, whilst also helping to build and nurture confidence in young children as they showcase hidden talents and of course introduce them to some of those vital leadership skills as they work as a team to run their mini business.

As a supporting business we were thrilled to be partnered with St Michael’s School in Dalston.  The competition finished at 12 noon of Friday 7 March and following this I was delighted to be part of the judging panel day held on Wednesday 9 March where participating businesses along with the head judge, Alex Wilkinson Executive Chair of the Cumbria Primary Heads association came together to decide the winners based on all their weekly updates submitted.

The judging was difficult as all the schools had taken part in a wonderful variation of imaginative activities and as a group they had all shown real business flair.  The votes were cast and the winners across the different categories each winning £500 to be split equally with their nominated charity were:

Best effort – Mayfield School

Business Partner Bendalls Engineering in aid of Charity West Cumberland Hospital Children’s Ward

The judges felt that Mayfield School took part in a vast array of events which involved friends and family and took place both within the school and across the local communities of Workington and Whitehaven.

Best teamwork and leadership – Arlecdon Primary School

Business Partner – Atkins in aid of Charity Cockermouth Mountain Rescue

The judges were amazed by the high level of detail that went into this business ‘The Hungry House’ with roles assigned to each child and teams formed which included a Venue Team, a Food Team and a Business Team.  They hosted a one off event where parents, carers and members of the community were invited into school for a three course meal and a night of showcased entertainment.

Best business idea – Broughton Primary School

Business Partner – Innovus in aid of Charity Cancer Research

The judges loved the original idea of the children taking photos around their local community so they could recreate these into original drawings which were then used to produce a Broughton 2017 calendar.  Following production the children organised an art exhibition to auction the original drawings off to the highest bidder.

Best profit – St Mary’s Catholic Primary School

Business Partner Doosan Babcock in aid of Charity West Cumbria Hospice at Home

The winner of this category speaks for itself turning £50 into £3218.90 through a selection of activities including making creative gifts such as bookmarks and t-shirts which were then sold and they also ran a number of sponsored events such as a ‘sing-a-thon’ and obstacle course.

Judges favourite – St Michael’s CE Primary School

Business Partner David Allen in aid of Charity Eden Valley Hospice

The judges felt that St Michael’s had created a sustainable business enterprise by opening and running a daily tuck shop in school that will now continue long after the Bright Stars project has ended.  ‘The Snack Shack’ was never intended to make a massive profit, rather it would enable more expensive healthy treats to be provided on occasions at less than cost price subsidised from the profits made.  The judges noted the underpinning business ethics from the school which encouraged healthy eating and equality for all children.

We were delighted to find that the ‘Judges Favourite’ of the competition was awarded to St Michael’s – our partner school!  I have worked personally with the children and Deputy Head Julie Paisley as their Business Mentor since December 2015 and it is fantastic to see their efforts recognised, their business ethics valued and their sustainable business idea rewarded.

The Bright Stars competition is a great way to help local businesses connect and forge on-going links with their local primary schools and communities and importantly with young people.  As a firm advocate of inspiring young people we were so pleased to support this project.

The final amounts raised (excluding the prize monies awarded to the winners) by all participating schools totaled £17,274.68 and with both the schools and their nominated charities each benefitting equally, this is a tremendous achievement which we are proud to have played a part of.

Kerrie Allison

View previous years entries