The Young Enterprise Scheme Our team of seven determined and innovative girls faced the task of coming up with a brand new, exciting company for the Young Enterprise Company Programme.
After many long discussions and lots of market research, we noticed a gap in the pet industry for eco-friendly and affordable dog toys, so we set out on an adventure to create a fully sustainable dog toy and perfected the idea of ‘Ragdogs’.
With much trial and error, we created our products: the ‘Jack’ toy, a plaited design with a tennis ball attached; and the ‘Russell’ toy which is created through an intricate weaving technique.
During these start-up months, we formed strong links with our local community. Charity shops donated their old clothes which could not be sold in-store and would otherwise be sent to landfill. Fortunately, nearby sports centres kindly donated unusable tennis balls. On top of this, we reached out to ASSISI and got very positive feedback after they tested our toys on some of their most energetic and playful dogs.
We were then given the opportunity to sell our products at the school Christmas fair and we even set up our own stand at St George’s Market in Belfast. After selling out at both of these events and in preparation for the Belfast Area competition, we enlisted the help of some very eager Year 8 pupils who volunteered during their Friday lunchtime to help create our dog toys and ensuring we were prepared for the big day.
Not only did we have to sell our products during the day of the competition, but the whole team had to endure an interview and pitch our idea to the panel of important judges.
The day seemed daunting, but everything ran smoothly, and it was clear the judges were very impressed. Not only did we win `Best Digital Presence’ and ‘Best Customer Service’, but we also picked up the overall winner title for the Belfast area.
The whole team was thrilled that our months of hard-work had paid off and, as a result, we are able to progress to the next stages of the competition.
We will now have to write a detailed company report and go through another grilling interview and presentation before going up against schools across Northern Ireland, with the winner progressing to the UK Finals.
Throughout our journey, we have developed many new, transferable skills which will be useful for the future. We have gained insights into the world of business, and it has sparked a real passion in all of us, not only the entrepreneurial world but for our company itself. It has been a steep learning curve, which has completely taken us out of our comfort zones on many occasions, but it is one that we have all greatly enjoyed and hope we are given the chance to continue our company through the next stages of the competition
Isabel B. (Year 13)