At the start of Y12, every student at Dronfield Henry Fanshawe School gets the opportunity to take part in the Young Enterprise Company Programme: a year-long opportunity that allows students to come together and open their very first business, under the cushioned support of a Young Enterprise advisor, as well as several members of staff. This year, seven students did exactly that.
The first few weeks entailed learning a little bit about what it is like to run a business, and the different things that a good business requires. At the same time as this, attendance was rather shaky – several people decided to join and several people decided not to partake any longer, leaving us all in question of when and how the final team would settle. By week four though, this did eventually start to resolve, and we swiftly moved forward to planning what our company would look like and how it would operate. Numerous ideas were put forward with respect to what our company would be – some were taken up and some were rejected. What was clear was that we were looking for something sustainable, even if it meant putting in more work. After copious amounts of research, advice, and design, we settled on producing sustainable gifts, in the form of small, affordable hampers – and thus Henry’s Hampers was born.
The run up to Christmas was intense, as we had spent more time than allocated settling on a company idea and product, however efficient product design and production meant that we were able to access the Christmas market just in time. For this market, we sold larger, yet fully sustainable hampers, aimed at two different target markets: children and adults. Something that we realised early on is that communication is key to an efficient company – and at this point any weaknesses in our communication as an operative team were showing through. Still though, we had little time left before Christmas, so selling these products was our main priority until then.
After the Christmas market had ended, we decided that our next market would be Valentine’s Day, which gave us some time to reflect on our performance in the run up to Christmas, and how to improve. Again, communication was our number one priority for improvement, and our advisor had had a reasonable push on this. It was key that communication was made as easy as possible – we experimented with Microsoft Teams as a means of communication, but soon realised that a WhatsApp group chat was more effective, so we proceeded with this. Market research was conducted over the course of the next two-week period, to gain an understanding of what potential customers would like from a company like ours. We then established our Valentine’s Day product: small, sustainable gifts, delivered anonymously on Valentine’s Day morning by a member of the team. Sign-up sheets were made available in due course, and we managed over sixty orders by day three of selling. We decided to close the selling window at sixty-five orders, as this gave us more than enough production work through, in the timeframe that we had. Upon delivery on Valentine’s Day morning, our gifts were received with lots of smiles, laughs and, of course, a little embarrassment!
Our next selling opportunity was Chesterfield Market, which lined up nicely with the Mother’s Day market. More market research was conducted prior to this, and another set of fully sustainable products was developed, including the Mother’s Day Hamper itself. We found that being flexible and agile was paramount when selling to the general public – adapting our marketing strategies was something that we did throughout the day. The day as a whole was an opportunity for the entire team to take on new experiences and pick up important skills with regards to communicating effectively with the public.
The next key date for Henry’s Hampers was the Derbyshire County Final. Lots of preparation was done to ensure that we had the best chance of winning the competition, and this included a written company report, as well as a video-based presentation, outlining the story of our company, our successes, and obstacles that we had to face. This work seemed to pay off – we managed to win the Derbyshire County Final, as well as being awarded the “Best Sales and Marketing” trophy! This came as a significant morale booster for all of us – including our advisor and link teachers. It was then imperative that we got to work on preparing for the Regional Final, which crept up on us with speed.
Although the event could not be held in person, Young Enterprise still did all they could to spread the celebration and anticipation, sending out party hats, horns and masks, as well as popcorn for everyone. While we did not win the Regional Final, we were awarded the “Team Journey” award, which was a nice way to end our journey trading as Henry’s Hampers, with Young Enterprise.
The Company Programme is an experience like no other – its intensity gives participants key skills that will be highly beneficial to their later lives. There simply is no other opportunity that offers the same level of learning, and for this reason it should be considered by all students entering Year 12.
A definite challenge but one which allowed us all to learn a lot and develop as people going forward.Jayden, Y12
My experience of young enterprise has been very informative and has taught me many lessons about the world of business that can be applied in everyday life.Bill, Y12
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