The young entrepreneurs who won an international schools’ competition earlier this year will be visiting the new Microsoft offices in London on 12 October to receive their awards.
The awards presentation will be the culmination of the 2015-16 Global Enterprise Challenge (GEC), a business enterprise initiative run by Broadclyst Community Primary School (BCPS) in Devon. 700 students aged between 9 and 12, in 200 teams across 20 countries, participated.
The annual GEC was developed by BCPS in 2014, when it won a ‘pitch’ competition run by Microsoft within its Showcase School community across the world. The Challenge incorporates a wide range of business skills while encompassing many different elements of the curriculum, putting the children’s learning into a real-life context and using Microsoft Office 365 technology to allow worldwide collaboration and creativity.
This year’s participants, in classrooms from Jamaica to Jordan and the US to the Netherlands, created business enterprise teams and collaborated within ten international companies. Having braved a ‘Dragon’s Den’ of their teachers to secure their investment funding, each company designed, manufactured, marketed and sold a different product, including bookmarks, phone cases, keyrings, smoothies and muffins.
The originator of the idea, BCPS’s head teacher, Jonathan Bishop, explains how well it worked: “The tools offered by Microsoft Office 365 have powered this purposeful collaboration and creativity amongst all the children, who have made group conference calls with Skype, presented ideas with Sway, and shared and voted on them through Yammer instant messaging. I’m delighted that the feedback we have received from teachers in the participating schools has emphasised the high level of engagement as well as the high quality of work that this style of learning delivers.”
Having traded during the early part of 2016, the global business teams submitted their careful income and expenditure accounts to the panel of judges, who included chief judge, Mark Sparvell, the Senior Education Manager, Microsoft Worldwide Education, journalist Merlin John and Laura-Jane Ellard, an award-winning Business and Management student from the University of Reading. The projects were ranked and judged based upon profitability, collaboration, clarity of business process, presentation skills and reflections upon learning, and three finalists were interviewed via Skype.
This year’s top three teams of children were:
1st - Makassed Khalil Shehab Primary School, Lebanon - Recycled Products Company (pictured above)
2nd - Broadclyst Community Primary School, UK - Recycled Products Company
3rd - La Devesa Bilingual School – Carlet, Spain - Muffin Company
The youngsters will receive their awards from Microsoft’s Vice-President of Worldwide Education, Anthony Salcito, before being taken for dinner and sightseeing in London.
The event will also mark the launch of the 2016-17 GEC, which will for the first time include students in secondary schools around the world too.
For more information, see www.globalenterprisechallenge.education
Case studies, photos and videos from the participating schools are available on request.