Awards for the entrepreneurs

A vital component of the Schools Enterprise Programme is showcase events to provide youngsters who have excelled with a chance to shine on a public stage and reap a small reward for their enterprise. The first SEP national awards ceremony in June was a high-powered affair attended by teachers, businessmen and politicians as well as primary schoolchildren.

Sixteen schools around the country competed for the title of Scotland's most enterprising school, and the judges were treated to an inventive display of products, from traditional cards, calendars and candles to CDs, videos and colour magazines. The presentations given by the children to the large audience were informative and enjoyable and displayed a poise, confidence and professionalism that seemed beyond their years.

Iain Gray, the Minister for Enterprise, Transport and Lifelong Learning, said: "There are real spin-off benefits from making enterprise the key focus in schools. It means encouraging more creative and enterprising approaches to learning, it expands the aspirations and possibilities for young people, and it encourages them to take the chances that will allow them to achieve.

"Through enterprising schools we want to help our young people gain the skills and attitudes employers are looking for, and to develop their creativity. But of course these aren't just the skills and attitudes employers are looking for, they are also the ones Scotland is looking for to build a prosperous future for all of us."

In announcing the winning schools, entrepreneur Tom Hunter, the founder of Sports Division, said: "We were supposed to pick three winners, but being entrepreneurs we've broken the rules and chosen four."

The national winner was Ochiltree Primary School in Cumnock, East Ayrshire, in recognition of an enterprise culture that permeates the school and includes making and selling craftwork, producing a school newspaper and sustaining a wealth of contacts with local businesses. It received a trophy and cheque for pound;300. The runners-up were Carmyle Primary in Glasgow, Cornton Primary in Stirling and Balbardie Primary in Bathgate, West Lothian, which each received a certificate and cheque for pound;150.

The Schools Enterprise Programme shared the day and the platform with the Skene Awards, which have been motivating entrepreneurs in Scotland's primary and secondary schools for the past 16 years, backed by businessman Charles Skene.

The two winners of the Skene Awards this year were Portree Primary in Skye, for setting up a company that made house numbers to help the emergency services find specific houses, and Castle Douglas High in Dumfries and Galloway, for a company that made and sold hampers of local delicacies. Each school received a trophy and cheque for pound;1,000 and certificates for the pupils involved.

Another important showcase for young entrepreneurs is the Be An Inventor Challenge managed by the Glasgow Science Centre. It invites P4-P7 pupils to design and market a new product, with regional winners competing for a national trophy. This year's winners, from Donibristle Primary in Dalgety Bay, Dunfermline (TES Scotland Plus last week), designed a mechanism to adapt cameras for left-handed people and will collect their medal on September 19.

www.schoolsenterprise.co.ukSkene Awards, Helen Fitzpatrick, tel 01224 326221Be an Inventor, Joe McGrath, tel 0141 420 5010 ext 267

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