LAST week the Queens Park Rangers Trust hosted the heats for the Premier League Business Enterprise Challenge.
The competition, run in partnership with Sport Relief, use the business models of professional football clubs to engage young people in an educational activity.
The schools that made it through to this year’s heats were Preston Manor and Kensington Aldridge Academy.
The challenge was to task pupils with developing a business plan and promotional campaign to increase the number of young adults (aged 18-23) following the club and attending matches.
Lee Hoos (CEO of QPR), Adrian Jacob (Director of Currency UK/ Chairman of Chelsea Women FC), Shelley Alexander (BBC Sport Lead for Diversity and Women's Sport) were all judges on the panel.
After three excellent pitches, it was Preston Manor’s A team that all three judges crowned as their winners, and they will now compete in the finals that will take place next year.
The pitch from the Preston Manor students was so good that Lee Hoos hopes they can try their idea on a match-day.
After the event the QPR CEO said that all the students’ deserved credit for coming up with such well-researched pitches:
“The students who competed this year had really done their research and their attention to detail was particularly impressive. It was hard to crown a winner because they all deserved to go through!”
He continued: “However Preston Manor’s ability to come up with something totally unique and out of the box is what this competition is about, and I think they have a great chance of winning if they can further develop their concept ahead of the final.”
Whilst Shelley Alexander praised the pupils for the maturity they showed and their general business knowledge:
“It was amazing how much they understood what business needs, they have done financial forecasting that I would have never understood at their age. Lots of kids leave school and have no idea of managing money and financial issues and that’s mainly because they haven’t been taught it.”
She added: “I love these kinds of initiatives as they get young people thinking in a different way to what the school syllabus teaches them.”
And Dita Shah, a 14-year-old student from the Preston Manor Team, can’t wait to do it all again in the final.
“It was an amazing feeling to present in front of a lot of people and such an enjoyable experience where I have learned quite a few things. I’ve learned some essential skills and gained a lot of confidence. I can’t wait for the final but I know we need to improve.” Said Dita.