Festival tailor made for college entrepreneurs
A TEAM of enterprising students has rubbed shoulders with some of the country's top business gurus at a major national conference.
Youngsters from City College Plymouth travelled to Sheffield at the invitation of the prestigious Gazelle Colleges' Group to take part in MADE: The Entrepreneur Festival.
City College Plymouth is one of only 19 whose leaders have publicly committed to preparing their students for a more enterprising economic environment, characterised by small and growing companies.
The MADE Festival was a two-day master class in business building and it brought together 3,000 guests, with 50 high profile speakers including Claire Young, BBC Apprentice finalist in 2008 and founder of School Speakers; Kanya King, who founded the MOBO Awards; Wayne Hemmingway, co-founder of fashion chain Red or Dead; Robin Rowland, chief executive of YO! Sushi; and Dragons' Den star Peter Jones.
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The college sent six students from different curriculum areas including the first Enterprise and Entrepreneurship students from the College's Peter Jones Enterprise Academy: Curtis Graham and Curtis Harkin.
They were joined by hair and beauty students Lou Harrop, Paul John Bastin and Miriam Bimha, and the new president of the college's Students' Union, Luke Taylor.
Tutors on the trip included vice principal for enterprise Nina Sarlaka, who took part in a round table discussion including the Duke of York, Josephine John, the college's director of lifestyle services and the visitor economy; and Teresa Gardner, head of employability and skills.
She was impressed with the enthusiasm and ingenuity shown by the young entrepreneurs.
"Being around all these young people, with talents and skills and spark for the future, was really inspiring," she said.
"And the message was that anything is possible. No idea is too crazy. If you have ideas, get them out there. Now we need to get to the other young people in the city and tell them about the Peter Jones Academy programme, which is the first of its kind and really does develop entrepreneurs."
Mr Harkin, aged 22, from Plymstock, said he attended events with the Duke of York, Peter Jones himself, and Olympic gold-medal swimmer Duncan Goodhew.
And the trip helped him with his own business plan.
"I've got quite a few ideas," he said. "I'm going to a fashion clothing company, leading to promotions, marketing and PR."
Mr Graham, aged 18, from West Park, said the festival helped him plan his venture: a dairy icecream business.
"I got the chance to find out about funding and going into business," he said.
He attended an event featuring Business Secretary Vince Cable, and said: "The thing that made me feel like an entrepreneur was people were willing to give us advice."