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News: Adam and Ben Have Fruit4u

Posted on: September 29th, 2008

The man from Del Monte should be worried.

Adam Crookes and Ben Parkin, the men from Thorpe Hesley, have established a profitable rival that is defying the credit crunch and paying dividends for its shareholders.

The boys, both 10, have been a leading light in Rotherham Ready’s enterprise quest after setting up Fruit4u with their Year 5 colleagues and making a sufficient return to guarantee a class party, fully paid for by the company, when their careers at Thorpe Hesley Juniors comes to an end in July.

Fruit4u was established with the help of £5 loans from members of staff at the school, which was used to buy in stock and market the company at break and dinner times.

Paula Harmer and class teacher Alex Wirth helped the class to set up the company after attending a Rotherham Ready training course, Inspire Training for New Enterprise Champions.

The whole year five class was involved in one of its four departments; sales, marketing, accounts, and management.

The skills that the budding entrepreneurs garnered from the Rotherham Ready enterprise project meant any obstacles encountered were handled with initiative, creativity and support.

The issue of stock control was the first major learning curve for Fruit4u. After buying as many apples, oranges, and bananas as their raised capital could get them, which they stored in a rented fridge (50p per week), they quickly began to profit from selling it off to pupils and teachers in the school hallway.

“We had queues stretching all the way down the hall and it was really popular straight away,” said Adam, the company’s co-founder and accountant.

“But soon people wouldn’t want to buy fruit that wasn’t fresh so we were faced with the dilemma of running out of fruit we could sell as well as money to replace it with.”

Cash flow problems and the short life span of stock threatened the company’s existence just as it was getting off the ground, but the students met the problem head on and sought, and gained, further investment to rent a smoothie maker.

“The smoothies caused a lot of excitement in the school. We took a risk by increasing our costs with the rental of the smoothie maker but it meant we could still use the fruit that we were about to throw away.

“With the money we made we showed our initiative by researching smoothie recipes and designing a menu that people could take away with them, which was also good marketing for us.”

Marketing was another area where Fruit4u excelled. The innovative students created an advert using Windows Movie Maker and were given permission to run it on a screen in the main hall, which coincided with the launch of another product – Geo Bars.

The students, now in year 6, are preparing to share their expertise with the next generation of Thorpe Hesley enterprise moguls following the sale of Fruit4u to the year 5 class they have just left.

“We sold the company at the end of the year but we will be passing down the enterprise skills we have gained to Mr Wirth’s new class and hopefully they will be able to learn a lot from our business too.”

The next stop for Adam and Ben is the leaving party in June that Fruit4u’s £138 profit has funded.