On Monday 21st June, a group of students at Withernsea High School benefited from the knowledge and experience of some of the region’s most successful business leaders during a masterclass in entrepreneurship.
The ‘NxGen – Inspiring the next generation’ session was delivered by members of For Entrepreneurs Only (FEO), an award-winning Hull-based company made up of local entrepreneurs who collectively turn over around £3.5bn annually and employ over 23,000 people.
The day-long event provided a unique opportunity for eighteen students in Year 8 to spend quality time with some of the region’s most inspirational business leaders. Listening to first-hand experience, students learned about different aspects of creating a successful business - from having the right attitude and good people skills, through to effective marketing strategies and strong financial management.
Working in groups, students were tasked with coming up with their own unique product or service which they then produced a business plan for. Each team member took on a different role within their ‘company’ and representatives from FEO were on-hand to deliver expert advice and guidance as the students prepared to present their ideas.
Presentations were judged on the quality of the overall business idea; marketing considerations; projected finances; the attitude of team members and the use of visual aids. A total of five teams pitched a high standard of ideas, with the judges having the difficult job of narrowing them down to a top three.
Among the many impressive proposals was a clothing company that created sports kit out of recyclable materials and a café that specialised in vegan food that would also act as a safe space to socialise for people experiencing mental health issues.
However, after impressing the judges with their overall business idea and presentation skills, the winning proposal came from Imogen Fox, Leah Richardson, Summer Reid and Emily Medcalf who took first place with their beach-clean business idea that would see recovered items turned in to jewellery to be sold.
It was a welcome return to the school, not only for FEO - who last visited in November 2019 - but also for live careers events in general which have been on hold since the start of the pandemic last March.
Withernsea High School Careers Leader Viki Foster commented: ‘It was great to welcome FEO back into school, not only after a long break since their last masterclass session with us, but also as the first careers visitors to the school since March 2020 when the Covid pandemic started to take hold. The session marked the first step in getting our live careers programme back on track and we hope the next academic year will hold many more events like this.
Events such as the NxGen masterclass are crucial in expanding our students’ horizons by inspiring confidence, creativity and resilience. I would like to thank the FEO team for giving up their time to deliver these workshops to our students who I know greatly enjoyed themselves and benefited from the experience.’
Jan Brumby, Chief Executive, commented: ‘It was great to be back at Withernsea High School in person after such a challenging time for everyone. At FEO, we want to spread the message to young people that there are lots of opportunities out there for ambitious young people. There is also a back-to-business buzz in the East Riding area, with many new start-ups getting off the ground. Well done to all the students for displaying a positive attitude and coming up with some great ideas – we wish you all the best for the future!’
The goal of FEO is to help build the local economy by creating a private sector renaissance. They help entrepreneurs in Hull and East Yorkshire create wealth and jobs. Through regular events and initiatives, they aim to motivate, educate, inspire and support others. Their members give their time, energy, passion and resources and everyone at FEO works hard to promote Hull and the Humber region as a great place to start up and run a business.
Following an anonymous nomination and a bid supported by a number of local organisations, including Withernsea High School, FEO recently received royal recognition when they were named recipients of the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. This prestigious award recognises the outstanding support that FEO offers to aspiring business owners and start-up companies through effective mentoring, experience and inspiration.
Viki Foster Careers Leader at Withernsea school commented: ‘In our experience, FEO members are unique in the sense that they willing to give up a vast amount of their time to help inspire the next generation of business owners. Their passion and enthusiasm has an overwhelmingly positive effect on our students, which is evidenced by the excellent feedback we receive after every session.
We were pleased to offer our full support throughout the nomination process and we are delighted that FEO have been recognised in such a high profile way. Our warmest congratulations go to the team and we look forward to continuing working with them as they support and inspire the next generation of business owners in our region.’