An A level business studies student from Harrogate Grammar School was given the accolade “most entrepreneurial individual” at this year’s Umph! business and enterprise competition, which took place at the John Smith’s Stadium, Huddersfield, on 1 July.
Alistair Cameron-Jones beat over a hundred other contestants from sixth forms and colleges across Yorkshire to win the award.
Using SimVenture business simulation software, as well as giving presentations and being tested on their business knowledge, the students were judged by a panel of business experts that included business advisers from organiser Grant Thornton.
Specialists from law firm Bond Dickinson, Huddersfield University, Huddersfield Town Football Club and Fantastic Media were also on the judging panel. The judges were particularly impressed by Alistair’s throughout the day-long event.
During the competition, the students received input and advice in interactive workshops from a line-up of Yorkshire entrepreneurs and inspirational speakers, including Huddersfield Town chairman and Card Factory founder, Dean Hoyle; Leeds-based entrepreneur and DJ Alex Simmons; ITV studios entertainment director Siobhan Greene; and Mark Wood, polar explorer.
Alistair Cameron-Jones said: Talking to the entrepreneurs on a one to one basis and having the opportunity to hear about their experiences in business was really motivational. I came to Umph! to learn more about business and I will definitely be taking plenty of ideas and inspiration away with me. The entrepreneurs spoke to us with a lot of honesty about both failures and successes in their business careers, and it was really inspiring to hear that things don’t always go smoothly but that it’s part of the experience to overcome problems and failures.
Sandra O’Neill, Umph! organiser and head of business development at Grant Thornton, said: It’s great to see the sheer enthusiasm that young people have for business. Alistair’s entrepreneurial attitude impressed the judges and will be an asset to him in life whatever career he decides on.
Entrepreneurial and business skills are vital to individual employers and to our economy as a whole, but too many youngsters leave education without an awareness or understanding of business and innovation, despite the best efforts of some fantastic teachers. Grant Thornton is passionate about forging closer links between business and education – and instilling in young people a practical, hands-on enthusiasm for business.
Umph! is part of Grant Thornton’s ‘Educate to Innovate’ programme, which the firm has developed in Yorkshire to forge closer links between education and business. From in-school workshops to site visits and mentoring schemes, the programme aims to instil in students the knowledge, awareness and aptitude for business and entrepreneurialism required by employers.
Main photograph: Will Oxley, practice leader ,Grant Thornton, Leeds ; Alistair Cameron-Jones, most entrepreneurial individual at Umph! 2014