Budding tycoons have a firm head for business

This year's YES awards showed no shortage of new talent. Julia Belgutay reports

Believe in yourself, keep the can-do attitude and never be frightened of things not working out." That was the message from business tycoon Sir Tom Farmer to 16 teams of budding student entrepreneurs at this year's Young Enterprise Scotland (YES) awards in Glasgow.

The YES honorary vice-president and founder of garage chain Kwik-Fit added: "Seek good support for your ideas and don't think you can do it all by yourself."

They are lessons that many of the teams will already have learned. For it was teamwork, determination and entrepreneurial skills that allowed them to triumph over hundreds of senior school rivals from across the country to win regional titles and attend the YES awards finals. With the support of their teachers and business advisers, they were able to present persuasive business cases, along with their innovative products.

Dolly Creations from Glasgow Academy triumphed on the night, winning Scottish company of the year, as well as Best Report, Best Presentation and second place for Best Trade Stand.

The team - made up of 20 students and guided by their link teacher Aileen Drummond and business adviser Julia Sprought - had created handmade dolls and "paint your own doll" kits, which gained welcome celebrity approval from football managers Ally McCoist and Neil Lennon. But the dolls have also attracted attention from beyond the Scottish borders with orders from international heavyweight companies including the US store Walmart, in Houston, Texas.

The team's 18-year-old managing director Ayesha Hassan said: "We are hugely honoured and excited to have won. Dolly Creations began as a rabble of schoolchildren and we are now budding entrepreneurs ready to take on the rest of the UK."

ACE Enterprises from Ayrshire won the Organisational Excellence Award and picked up the prize for strategy - the Marketing Society Star School Award - as well as the prize for Best Trade Stand for promoting their product, a cookbook.

The Young Enterprise Scotland Company Programme is designed to inspire young people to put their business ideas into practice by starting up small firms. Students - supported by a link teacher and a local business adviser - have to juggle sales events, marketing tasks and trade negotiations while setting up and running their own company.

For more information go to: www.yes.org.uk.

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