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News: Car sign company puts Rotherham students in the business spotlight

Posted on: July 3rd, 2008

A group of six student entrepreneurs from Rotherham are celebrating after being chosen to represent South Yorkshire at a regional young enterprise awards ceremony.

TRZ, from Wales High School in Kiveton Park, beat off competition from 26 other companies in Rotherham, Sheffield, Doncaster and Barnsley schools for the chance to take on winning businesses from north and west Yorkshire and the Humber.

TRZ were narrowly beaten by TEN from Sherburn High School in North Yorkshire at the regional final at Wakefield’s Cedar Court Hotel, who will now go to The Park Lane Hotel in London for the national awards.

Sophie Giles, Helen Clay, Alice Foster, Joseph Robbins, Emily Ross (all 17) and Gary Brook (16) established TRZ as part of the Young Enterprise Company Programme and began manufacturing and selling generic and personalised car signs and key rings made entirely from leftover acrylic from the school’s technology department.

Rotherham Ready funded the Young Enterprise scheme at Wales High School but the group raised their own venture capital by selling shares in the company to friends and family to cover manufacturing and marketing costs.

Sophie, who was named Best Managing Director at the South Yorkshire awards, said: “We were really happy to have represented South Yorkshire in these awards and it is a fantastic achievement by the team.

“We’re disappointed to have missed out on the chance to go to London for the national finals but we’re proud of what we have accomplished as a company and hopefully we have shown what is possible through hard work and determination.

“We made a good profit and our shareholders will be happy that we’ve chosen to donate a percentage of it to Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice in Rotherham!”

The students, who also won Best Business Plan at the South Yorkshire awards, staged a school disco to increase the amount of capital they had to invest in their car sign and key ring business, which they did with the help of Young Enterprise development manager Delia Slucutt.

Jackie Frost from Rotherham Ready said:

“We’re delighted that Rotherham Ready was able to support such a fantastic scheme that inspired students across the borough, in particular TRZ who have been so impressive in their entrepreneurialism and attitude towards Young Enterprise.

“They performed admirably at the Cedar Court Hotel and throughout the course of their business.”

The Young Enterprise Company Programme runs throughout the world for students aged 15-19 to set up and run their own company over the course of one academic year with the support of a volunteer advisor from a local business.

Young Enterprise is currently recruiting schools and business volunteers for the 2008/09 academic year. For more details about Young Enterprise and how you can get involved please go to www.yeyh.org.uk