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News: Rotherham named most enterprising place in Britain!

Posted on: November 16th, 2010

A town that teaches four-year-olds about enterprise has beaten off stiff competition from across the UK to be crowned as ‘The Most Enterprising Place in Britain’ 2010.

Rotherham wowed a panel of tough private sector judges to take the top prize in the prestigious Enterprising Britain competition for their innovative model for creating a culture of enterprise.

Rotherham Ready entered the competition under the category of ‘enterprise culture’ showcasing the town’s achievements over the last five years to inspire children and young people about business, enterprise entrepreneurship.

Yesterday (Nov 15th) the results of the competition were announced at a ceremony at the House of Lords attended by Dragons Den star Peter Jones and BIS minister Mark Prisk.

A delegation from Rotherham including Rotherham Council’s Enterprise Projects Manager Jackie Frost, ‘Are You Ready?’ Director Catherine Brentnall, Lauren Stanley (11) and James Wass (13) from St Bernard’s Catholic High School, their enterprising teacher Kevin Wright and Rotherham young entrepreneur Dominic Beck (18) were there to hear the results.

Jackie Frost said:

“Winning this award is richly deserved recognition for the effort and passion of everyone involved in developing enterprise in Rotherham. Young people in Rotherham need to be enterprising – more so now than ever – and we thank our schools and colleges, our local businesses and entrepreneurs, and our partners and colleagues from the council that work so hard to help create a culture of enterprise in the town.”

Three judges visited the town in October to learn more about Rotherham Ready, hearing from Infant, Primary and Secondary school pupils and college students about how they are mentored by local entrepreneurs to develop their enterprise skills and develop businesses. Local businesses, entrepreneurs, teachers and partners also showed how they work together to support the development of enterprise in education from 4-19 and beyond.

Their stories showed how Rotherham has the complete package for developing enterprise – with Rotherham Ready inspiring children about business as soon as they start school, and Rotherham Youth Enterprise providing all the support young people need to make their business dreams a reality.

Rotherham was also able to demonstrate that its success could be replicated elsewhere – having successfully launched Hull Ready in 2008 and exporting ‘Inspire’ enterprise training to Sheffield, Barnsley, Doncaster, Warrington, Liverpool and…Spain!

Rotherham is home to some of the most deprived communities in the UK, but has been undergoing a profound shift in culture, due to almost 54,000 enterprise interventions in schools between Rotherham Ready and Rotherham Youth Enterprise in the last five years.

Catherine Brentnall, Director of ‘Are You Ready?’ said:

“Creating a culture of enterprise is a national aspiration and we have shown in Rotherham how that can be done. Over the long term there will never be more entrepreneurs or more business start ups unless we excite children about these opportunities, and help them develop the skills and aspirations to chase them.”

Rotherham Ready, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, has trained hundreds of teachers to develop enterprise in schools and colleges, and harnessed the passion of the business community to promote enterprise and entrepreneurship in education.

An astounding 103 schools and colleges in Rotherham have also achieved the Warwick Award for Excellence in Enterprise Education – the quality mark for enterprise learning.

Rotherham Youth Enterprise provides start up support, business coaching and incubation workspace for young entrepreneurs – enabling 232 youngsters to start businesses in the last five years.

Now these achievements have been recognised by the town winning the top prize in the national Enterprising Britain awards.

Now in its sixth year, the nationwide competition run by Enterprise UK through the Regional Development Agencies, including Yorkshire Forward, rewards cities, villages, towns and neighbourhoods that have tackled the economic downturn head on and are successfully creating jobs, boosting local business and nurturing entrepreneurial talent as the UK emerges from recession.

John Fox, Director of local pub chain Foxman Pubs, “This is absolutely brilliant news – I’m delighted that Rotherham is well and truly on the map for this work. Being a member of the business community in Rotherham it means a lot to be able to contribute to inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs and help make the town a better place.”

John Healy, one of the town’s MPs, who played a critical role in launching Rotherham Ready five years ago said:

“Rotherham Ready has had such an impact that it is shaping the curriculum and it will shape the future of Britain. Enterprise has been used as a legitimate learning tool and has put the borough at the forefront of innovative teaching on a global scale by enabling students to bridge the gap between business and education.”

Photo Opportunity:

This Thursday (Nov 18th) Secret Millionaire Carl Hopkins is visiting Herringthorpe Infants (Chatterton Drive, Rotherham), one of Rotherham’s Champion Schools for Enterprise.

Carl, one of the regional judges for the Enterprising Britain competition, will be congratulating teachers, young people and partners involved in the project and sharing how he made his success in business.

There will be a chance to take photos and talk to people involved in the project etc between 2.15-2.45pm.

For more information please contact Catherine Brentnall on 07825 125 438.