Gibraltar’s Young Enterprise winners triumphant in the UK

The winners of this year’s Young Enterprise (YE) competition in Gibraltar, Gibsights, came third in the UK national finals held in London on July 14th. They were representing the Yorkshire and Humber region after winning that regional heat in June.
This is nothing short of an amazing achievement when you consider that they were one of 12 finalists from an entry pool of 2,500 YE companies from across the UK. Very well done to them.

Young Enterprise arrived at the Gibraltar College two years ago and is now firmly established on the Rock. The scheme encourages the development of business skills amongst young people, as well as emphasising the importance of teamwork, problem-solving, motivation and self-esteem. And it’s real-life stuff: teams set up real companies, issue real shares and appoint key positions in finance, sales, operations, human resources and marketing. They then develop a business plan to sell a real product or service. Think The Apprentice without the hiring and firing.

YE’s emphasis is very much on ‘learning by doing’ which naturally complements the perhaps more academic structures of the classroom. Teams are guided by Link Teachers at the College during the week and are also mentored by Business Advisors – volunteers from Gibraltar’s business community who steer, question and challenge the teams on the decisions and actions that they’ve taken.

This year five companies appeared in the Gibraltar final at the John Mackintosh Hall in May. Gibsights, with their innovative MP3 tourist product won out, but the other teams also showed a level of creativity and professionalism which was unthinkable back in October last year when they first formed their companies. The judging panel, made up of members of the local business community – John Perez, Chief Executive of Bland Group; Tony Welsh, Chief Executive of Marks & Spencer Gibraltar; Pepe Caruana, Senior Partner at Deloitte; and Franco Cassar, General Manager of Barclays Bank – were impressed at the standard of the entries and ideas.

So this year’s competition in Gibraltar belonged to Gibsights. Team members Mark Moreno, Syanne Agius, Sarah Martinez and Joel Williams developed and produced a series of Gibraltar walking tours incorporating both a map and an MP3 player with professionally recorded audio-guide. As a convincing show of their powers of persuasion, the team managed to secure the official endorsement of both the Gibraltar Tourist Board and the Gibraltar Museum. The team sold advertising space on the map to raise revenue for the production of the walking tours which were pre-recorded onto the MP3 players. In the first day the company sold over 110 devices at £15 each. They’ve now gone on to place a further order for MP3 players and are researching ways to develop their product. The team’s Link Teachers at Gibraltar College were Daniel Benrimoj and Roin Sampere and their Business Advisors were Alfredo and Ramon Vasquez from Vasquez Consulting Ltd. There’s more information about the company at www.gibsights.com

The four other companies taking part in this year’s Gibraltar final were Eco-Books who published a children’s book aimed at raising awareness of the local environment – they have plans to publish further titles. Fresh, who presented a novel way of promoting health and hygiene in Gibraltar; Made-Easy, who developed an environmental approach to selling surplus construction materials via an agreement with local developer and building company Sharrock Shand. And finally, Minichef who presented their idea for a cookbook designed to encourage healthy eating aimed primarily at children and young people.

In a testament to the success of the scheme, two of last year’s finalists have continued their companies and are now running professional businesses. One of them, Graziella Moreno, who runs Goods ‘R Us providing catering services, gave the 2010 final an update of her year in business. In a confident presentation she highlighted what she had gained from Young Enterprise and how it had helped her to go on and develop her business. Aptly, her company provided the catering at the post-presentation reception.

For the second year running the Gaggero Foundation has given generous financial support to Young Enterprise, which has enabled the programme to be developed further – not only by offering a number of different programmes to more students, but also by enabling the schemes’ extension to students at Bayside School. More developments of this kind are planned in the year ahead.

The Chamber is also active in supporting the scheme and the Department of Education have given it its full backing. Both obviously recognise it as an investment in Gibraltar’s future. B2B wishes Gibsights and all this year’s finalists every success in the future.

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