FIVE pounds is going a very long way at a primary school teeming full of bright young entrepreneurs who are giving The Apprentice contenders a run for their money.
Teams of seven to 11-year-olds at Newtown CoE Primary in Gosport are running a range of businesses including car washes, jewellery designs, knitted toys and personalised acrostics – with a £5 loan from teacher Jenny Wedick.
And judging by the success of their sales so far, all 23 mini companies are set to raise more than £1,000 for three African charities – Breakfast Club, Riziki Children’s Organisation and Trade Aid Tanzania.
Harriet Morgan-Barstow, 11, and two friends launched Funky Feet which sells accessorised socks and is already £45 in profit.
She said: ‘It’s turned out to be a very popular idea – people have been asking for wacky colours, and some with their names or animals drawn on.
‘We’ve seen some of our socks being worn in school which is exciting.
‘I feel incredibly proud we’ve made a success of our business and that so much money is going to charity.
‘I’ve watched The Apprentice and I think we’d all do well on it because we’ve got some great ideas and we all work well as a team.’
William Hosell, nine, is running his own show Will’s Tasty Treats – with some help from his mum in the kitchen.
So far the Rolo cookies and white chocolate brownies have proved most popular, and he is taking orders for £1.50 recipe books which he hopes will boost his £47 profit.
He said: ‘I feel amazing, it’s so satisfying to have your own business and see it do so well.
‘I’ve spent a lot of time baking and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it, especially when I’ve made my own recipes like the chocolate and orange muffins and gingerbread men.
‘I’m going to try out a few more cakes to see which is the most popular so I can make lots for the final days of sales – to make as much money as possible.’
He added: ‘If we were on The Apprentice we could beat the other contestants – we’re aiming to be the best.’
Alex Mansfield, 11, is the co-founder of Candy Cakes which produces specially decorated cakes in hand-made gift bags – and plenty of orders are coming in from family and friends’ workplaces.
Her company, which boasts a £67 profit, has also organised a school raffle.
She said: ‘I would love to start my own business, maybe in baking.
‘It’s been a big responsibility but great fun at the same time.’
Mrs Wedick, who came up with the challenge, is confident every single loan from her personal bank account will be returned.
She said: ‘It’s been amazing. The children have come up with great ideas and they’re learning important lessons about business – through their market research and weighing up stocks and pricings.
‘At the same time, this has really opened their eyes to the wider world and shown them what they can do to make a difference.’
The Year 3 teacher once had Apprentice wannabe Ricky Martin from Stubbington in her class when he was a pupil at Crofton Hammond Juniors.
She would only be drawn to say ‘he wasn’t backward in coming forward’.
Pupils will be selling their goods at the school on May 2 and 9 from 3pm to 3.30pm.