YOUNGSTERS are learning about the hustle and bustle of the business world by setting up their own firm making and selling Christmas cards.
A group of teenagers at Harbour School, Tipner, were one of just 100 teams across the UK selected to take part in the Peter Jones Tycoon in Schools competition, backed by Dragon’s Den judge Peter Jones.
They were awarded a £100 loan from the organisation to start their own firm after sending off a detailed business plan for a card-making business.
The pupils have until the end of November to pay back the loan through sales and any further profit will be theirs to invest back into the business or school as they wish.
Pupil Bobby Read, 13, of Manors Road, Fratton, said: ‘I thought doing this was going to be boring, but it’s really good.
‘It’s much better than other classes because it’s more creative and it keeps me active.
‘I want to get as much money as possible for the school. There are lots of things we need like new doors and new computers – this money could make a big difference.’
Having only started trading on Wednesday, the team has already sold six packs of the cards.
And in a bid to boost those figures the youngsters will take the cards home and use their sales skills to pitch them to their family members and friends.
Harry Conway, 14, of Blakemore Road, Paulsgrove, said: ‘I’ve sold one pack already.
‘I just asked someone I knew if he wanted one and he said yes – it was exciting.
‘Doing this project has opened my eyes to what business is all about, it’s quite enjoyable.’
The group came up with the card’s designs themselves, taking words from Christmas carols and putting them into Christmas themed shapes.
They then sourced a supplier and are printing the cards in batches of 60 – the number of cards the youngsters predicted they could sell in a week.
Kayleigh Neale, 13, of Gruneisen Road, Stamshaw, said: ‘I’m going to ask everyone I know to buy them.
‘My family and friends are already asking when they can get them.
‘It’s a really good idea to make in school and be able to sell it. It’s taught me a lot about business.
‘I know now that you have to manage a business wisely and be careful with your money because you can’t just spend it all straight away.’
Harley Way, 13, of Hillsley Road, Paulsgrove, added: ‘It’s exciting to be a businessman – it’s something a bit different from what we normally do at school.’
The school plans to keep the business going after Christmas through selling birthday cards and possibly other products.
Teacher Dave MacAskill said: ‘The children at our school are here because they find it difficult to engage with learning in some way, but they have all got so involved with this project.
‘It’s helping them improve so many vital life skills, such as motivation and teamwork skills, and it’s boosted their confidence.’
For more information see tycooninschools.com