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Cumbrian schools contest to find leaders of tomorrow

By Julian Whittle

A competition is underway to find the next Richard Branson or Alan Sugar - in Cumbrian primary schools.

Tiny tycoons across the county are taking on the challenge of building their own mini business empires as Bright Stars 2015 gets underway.

The contest, run by the Centre for Leadership Performance at Lillyhall, Workington, aims to introduce children to the world of business and unearth the business leaders of tomorrow.

It began last Monday and the children have eight weeks to build their businesses.

Young entrepreneurs at each school receive a £50 business stake plus expert guidance from a local business and the organising team at the Centre for Leadership Performance.

Their challenge is to turn the stake into big money with a cash prize of £1,000 for the school that raises the most.

Profits made by each school will be donated to their chosen charities.

Sarah Glass, business development manager at the Centre for Leadership Performance, said: "Bright Stars takes young people far beyond simply talking about business.

"There's nothing quite like actually doing it to get across the excitement of running a business.

"The earlier we can engage young people in the basic principles of business the better because they are our leaders of tomorrow, and the programme is designed to build confidence and nurture creative thinking.

"Companies taking part help to fund the initiative and commit their expertise to the schools they partner.

"That provides a vital stepping stone to connect local businesses with their potential future employees."

Cash prizes for categories such as 'best team work' and 'best creative idea' will be awarded by a panel made up of representatives from the partner companies.

The competition was first run last year, when the youngsters' business ideas ranged from washing cars to baking cakes, decorating Easter eggs and making personalised key rings.

The children have to think about developing products, the cost of manufacturing, marketing, team work and, of course, leadership and management.

They are also required to account for their spending and income.

Companies taking part this year include AMEC, Armstong Watson, BAE Systems, David Allan, GSK, Iggesund Holmen Group, NSG Environmental, Nuvia, Sellafield and Story Homes.

Participating schools include Ashfield Junior and St Patricks Primary in Workington, Fairfield Primary in Cockermouth, Gosforth Primary, Seascale Primary, Lowther Endowed, Maryport Infant, Thursby, Rosley and Carlisle's Newlaithes Infant and Petteril Bank Primary.

News & Star, Monday, 26 January 2015

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