Enterprise day at Devonport High School for Girls (2nd July 2015)

Over the last couple of months I have been delighted to work with Deirdre McMahon, the head of business and enterprise at Devonport High School for Girls, to create, prepare and organise an activity for their Enterprise Day aimed at one hundred and twenty Year 8 pupils. The Enterprise Day was organised in partnership with Plymouth Business School, the Futures Entrepreneurship Centre and two South West businesses: the local company ‘Plymouth Tea’ and Bath based company ‘The Artful Chocolatier’.

Plymouth Tea is an independent, family business based in the historic city of Plymouth and the business was established to give people the perfect, luxury tea. The General Manager Hannah Fleming from Plymouth Tea is a Plymouth University Alumna, from Faculty of Business, who with her entrepreneurial spirit is building a strong name for the company.

Lovely display by Plymouth Tea
Lovely display by Plymouth Tea

Nicola Donovan, the director and founder of The Artful Chocolatier, a family run business based in the breath-taking city of Bath, is at the same time a very creative artist. Art lecturer Nicola produces truly unique and extremely delicious chocolate works of art that can be customised to meet individual requirements.

Delicious chocolate works of art by Nicola from The Artful Chocolatier
Delicious chocolate works of art by Nicola from The Artful Chocolatier

Enterprise Days aim to develop pupils’ entrepreneurial skills, encourage them to think ‘out of the box’, expand their innovative creativity, advance their presentation skills and furthermore give them the opportunity to work with real businesses.

The task on the day was based on ‘event management’.  At the start of the day the girls learned about the companies, their competitors and about event management. They then worked in teams of six and within each team were allocated a role: such as project manager, marketing director, catering director, creative director, finance director and sales director.

The pupils had to create an event for a new target market for one of the companies. The aim was to help the companies to expand their existing market position. Girls had all morning to research, develop and finalise their ideas. During the morning Question and Answer session, each allocated director within the group, had a chance to speak to Nicola and Hannah to solve any dilemmas and answer any queries, and of course to make sure their event idea was viable and thoroughly thought out.

After a morning workshop and some research, the girls had to present their idea to the panel at the end of the day. The panel consisted of Nicola, Hannah, Emily Lane and myself. Their presentation was judged on the following categories: creativity, originality, viability, time management and team work.

The girls worked with energy and enthusiasm and their ideas and event designs immensely impressed and benefited both of the companies. As a result of this event, the girls at DHSG developed their enterprise skills, gained valuable business understanding and learned about the importance of marketing, budgeting and time management. They also unanimously claimed that they had learned so much about teamwork, creating an event and public speaking.

“I enjoyed the group brainstorms for ideas as well as presenting, especially because it’s something you don’t normally do and I am not good at public speaking so found it a fun experience”

“I have learnt that working as a team is key, and including everyone’s ideas is also very important”

“I enjoyed the presenting – mostly the feeling of achievement after I’d done it”

“Talking to the people who owned the business”

“Making the posters, meeting and talking to people with experience”

“Designing and planning the event”

In the words of Deirdre McMahon “On behalf of the staff and students at DHSG I would like to thank Plymouth University, Plymouth Tea and The Artful Chocolatier for organising such an incredible Enterprising day for our students. It was fantastic to see our girls’ getting real life advice from two small businesses and it lead to us witnessing creative, inspiring and innovative ideas throughout the day. It was great to see our students collaborating and working as part of a team to plan an event for the businesses”

Hand made chocolate lollies with DHSG logo
Hand made chocolate lollies with DHSG logo

Nicola Donovan from The Artful Chocolatier:   “I was really impressed by the enthusiasm of the year 8 students during last Thursday’s Enterprise day at Devonport High School for Girls. They asked intelligent questions about my business and frankly, some of them had me ‘on the ropes’ more than once. It was hard to believe how young they are, and their ideas for a chocolate themed event demonstrated not only lively imaginations but the maturity to realistically put their ideas into action. The students were an absolute delight, I really enjoyed working with them and they offered valuable perspectives regarding my business that otherwise would have been very difficult for me to access. Thank you Elena, Deirdre, staff at DHSG and of course the students.”

Hannah Fleming from Plymouth Tea: “I greatly enjoyed the day at DHSG, it was brilliant to talk to the students about our tea & they seemed really interested in what I was saying. Their presentations were amazing considering they’d only had the morning to come up with the ideas. A lot of the events were really feasible & I hope that we might be able to use the ideas in the future”

Some of the creative work made by the girls

Proposed event for Plymouth Tea
Proposed event for Plymouth Tea
Proposed event for The Artful Chocolatier
Proposed event for The Artful Chocolatier

I hope you enjoyed reading my post.

Elena Novakova
Elena Novakova

elena.novakova@plymouth.ac.uk

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