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Party planning idea wins entrepreneur competition

* 21 May 2004 *

Party planning idea wins entrepreneur competition

Four budding tycoons from Causeway School, Eastbourne, have won first prize in a business plan competition with their idea for organising teenage parties.

Year 10 pupils Emma Warner, Becky Whittington, Zainab Vandu-Chikolo and Jamie Rolland were commended by the judges of the Entrepreneurs for Tomorrow competition, run jointly by the University of Sussex, the Specialist Schools Trust, the Sussex Innovation Centre and Ringmer Community College, for their impressive presentation skills and the feasibility of their business plan entitled Organised Chaos.

Their company targeted a niche in the party planning market for teenagers wanting exciting parties and events whilst being able to reassure their parents that they are in a safe environment.

At a special award ceremony at the University of Sussex they were presented with certificates and prizes of Sony La Clié handheld digital organisers by the university's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alasdair Smith.

Executive Director of the Sussex Innovation Centre, Mike Herd, one of the judges and a sponsor of the event, noted, "the conviction of their delivery and the clarity of their idea and presentation achieved a high professional standard." 

The competition was launched at the university in January, when 270 Year 10 students from across East and West Sussex attended activities to inspire and motivate them to think about how to plan a new business.

A total of 18 secondary schools entered the competition and nearly 40 business plans representing 130 students, were submitted to the judges for short listing.  Six schools were short-listed as finalists and invited to present their plans to an audience of friends and family on May 7 in the university's state-of-the-art new conference centre.  The judges were acting as though venture capitalists with the difficult task of choosing which of the presentations they felt would have the most investment potential.

Second place went to the team from Robertsbridge Community College, who wowed and entertained the audience by modelling their innovative designer clothing range of T-shirts and even boxer shorts!  Jack Bennett, Tom Goodwin and Darren Buss produced a dynamic presentation for 'JDT Clothes' demonstrating how hi-tech print techniques would respond to different lighting and temperature conditions.  All the remaining finalists received a Sony CD Walkman as prizes for the high standard of their entries.  The success of 'Entrepreneurs for Tomorrow' at the University of Sussex has inspired the Specialist Schools Trust to roll out the competition across the country next year.

* Notes for editors *

For more information, contact Gerard  Cronin, Regional Development Coordinator, Research & Regional Development Division. Tel: 01273 87 7692

University of Sussex Press Officers,  Jacqui Bealing and Maggie Clune, Tel: 01273 678888,,

Specialist Schools Trust's press officer Simon Horsborough, Tel: 020 7802 2371.

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