The annual Young Enterprise Scotland Shetland area final was held at the Shetland Museum last night with two competing companies, Ragazza and Trowaid, both from the Anderson High School.
The all-girl company Ragazza was declared the winner, and will now go forward to represent Shetland in the Scottish Final in June.
Winning company Ragazza, comprising S6 pupils, produced a Shetland-themed colouring book for adults.
This has sold very well locally and been a popular gift for sending abroad, reaching as far as the Philippines. Ragazza decided to have the book produced locally to ensure a quality product and a firm delivery date.
Trowaid had a very ambitious project, offering customers the opportunity to “Adopt a Trow”. They were unable to find UK producers who would do a production run of just 500 and eventually discovered a company in Russia, but communication problems were against them, and the factory itself proved to be in China. They were very pleased with the prototype of the teddy trow which they finally received last week – but because of the timescale, they had already refunded money to their customers and explained they would not be getting their teddies.
Chairwoman of the Shetland area Young Enterprise team Sue Beer said: “We were all impressed by the quality of this year’s companies. They have learned so much in their Young Enterprise journey and this experience will serve them well as they leave school and head out into the wider world.”
The judging team consisted of Ben Laurenson, of RSM UK, Neil Henderson, of SIC economic development, and Donna Simpson, from small business Da Local Yokel.
The presentation of certificates to all the participants, and trophy to the winning managing director, was made by chief executive of Young Enterprise Scotland Geoff Leask, who came up for the event.
Mr Leask said: “Both companies were fantastic. Trowaid were very impressive, working with companies in Russia and China to source products.”
He said that for both companies there was a lot of learning involved, and they had a passion for Shetland, reflected in their products, and were focused on engaging with people. “You don’t do business unless you like people,” he added.
The experience would stand them in good stead for applying to college and university, he said, and he was “pretty sure” that one or two of the contestants would go into business – he had seen the “spark within them”.
The YES company programme supports sixth year pupils in forming and running their own company for an academic year. Teams are judged on their company report, their trade stand, a presentation before the invited audience and finally by a question and answer session.
Ms Beer said: “The final in Shetland is a good rehearsal for the winning team for the greater challenges they will face at the national event in June in Glasgow.”
Young Enterprise is always keen to recruit new members with experience in business to their board, and as business advisers.