The Sir John Balcombe in Marylebone, part of Bermondsey Pub Co, has teamed up with Stride Ventures for the second year running to support its ‘Putting Young Minds to Work’ initiative in local school, King Solomon Academy.
The ‘Putting Young Minds to Work’ course has been specifically created to address the call from government bodies, employers and business organisations to introduce employability skills to children at an early age.
The local pub has supported the scheme in a number of ways: by directly funding the course; taking an active part in the judging process; and rewarding the winners with a celebratory lunch on the 13th December.
During the eight-week course, which was split into 90-minute weekly sessions, students worked in groups to set up their mini-businesses using a loan of up to £40. The scheme is designed to build children’s aspirations and develop their financial capabilities, while promoting crucial employability skills.
After completing the course, the 11-year-old students presented their ideas to a panel of judges in Dragon’s Den-style ‘Perfect Pitch’ presentations and finally ran their businesses at the school’s Enterprise Fair.
The judging panel included The Sir John Balcombe’s Pub Manager Aneta Gorizyca, along with Stride’s Nikki de Bruin and three sixth-form students from King Solomon Academy.
Aneta Gorizyca said: “I am very proud to be involved in this fantastic project and to give something back to the local community. As a pub manager, I play an active role in recruitment and see first-hand the benefits of the skills taught in these courses when seeking new employees.
“I was particularly impressed with the calibre of entries this year and can’t wait to see what next year brings.”
The winning teams were presented their certificates at special ceremonies held at the school.
The winning groups comprised of ‘Reindeer Rebels’ selling Christmas themed sweets and ‘Pokémon Gamers’, who created two eye-catching, innovative games and cleverly sourced a grand prize by recycling an unwanted gift.
All teams collated a grand total of £192.55, which was donated back to the school.
Other awards included Outstanding Customer Service, Best Entrepreneurial Spirit and Most Profitable Mini Business, jointly won by Pokémon Gamers and Sweet Delight, which sold attractively packaged sweets and pocket money toys.
Stride Co-Founder, Nikki de Bruin said: “We founded Stride Ventures because we strongly believe in encouraging entrepreneurial and employability skills among young children. The course is designed to engage kids and teach them vital life skills, that they might not learn elsewhere and we hope this gives them the edge they need when looking for work.
“Due to funding, there’s a limit to the amount of schools we can reach, so we’re heavily reliant on the continued support of local businesses, such as The Sir John Balcombe.”