Clocks made using the folded pages of The Shetland Times helped a team of young entrepreneurs to victory in the regional final of the Young Enterprise Scotland competition.
Team Novus, made up of Anderson High School pupils, made the clocks individually and sold them at school as well as at craft fairs and other events.
And despite making a slight loss the team was named regional winner at a ceremony in the Shetland Museum last night.
After their victory, which also earns them a place in the national final in Glasgow in June, team members said they were surprised.
Novus’ IT director Miriam Veenhuizen said: “I can’t believe it. The hard work has paid off.” Secretary Lyla Moncrieff was thrilled the experience was set to continue. “I’m so pleased it’s not stopping yet, it’s good fun,” she said.
The team, led by managing director Louie Gray, also included financial director John Robinson, operations manager Jenny Watt, human resources director Eilise New and salesperson Michaela Peterson.
They said they were a “little bit scared” about heading to the national final, but would practise hard in advance of making a presentation in front of a much bigger crowd.
Louie said the clock design had been chosen because Novus wanted to pursue an environmentally-friendly project.
“We knew environmentally-friendly enterprises did well, so we thought about ‘upcycling’ as our theme. We had one base design [which could use] newspapers, magazines, posters or pages from a book.”
Novus managed to sell 62 clocks, just short of their target of 70.
The enterprise competition encourages youngsters to learn about the world of work by forming a business and raising money to invest in it. Teams have to create a product or offer a service, keep accounts and management reports. At the end of the process they submit an annual report to judges and make a presentation about the experience.
Two other teams were vying for the regional title.
Healthy Pro-Fit from Brae High School had created a sports-themed calendar. Member Michaela Sutherland said the team had experienced a “few difficulties” along the way and delays in getting the calendar produced restricted them to only a few weeks to sell the product.
A portion of the team’s profits will be donated to the Mind Your Head mental health charity.
The third team was Ignite, from the Anderson High School, which created a book Northern Fitness. They had wanted to make sales linked to people’s new year resolutions but also missed their deadline and the book was not available until after the new year.
Despite that the team was boosted when BP made an order for 200 books and project manager Sam Constable said: “We learned that planning ahead is a key part of running a successful business.”
At Thursday’s awards ceremony chairman of the local young enterprise board, Sue Beer, said the competition was not about the finished product, but about the companies and the “learning that takes place along the way”.
Total is one of the sponsors of Young Enterprise Shetland and Shetland Gas Plant terminal manager Dave Wink presented the trophy to Novus.
He praised the effort put in by all the teams and said: “The stresses and strains and issues you had in your companies are very real – I’m facing a few of them at the moment.”
The judges at Thursday’s final were David Nicol, from NB Communications, Katrina Wiseman, of Highlands and Islands Enterprise Ltd and the Royal Bank of Scotland’s Richard Lewis. They praised the high standard of the entrants.
All participants were given a certificate by Neil Archibald, Young Enterprise Scotland board member, who had himself been a Young Enterprise student. He spoke of the head start that having been through the process had given him, not least in making presentations when he went to university.