School just spoonfeeds us - this is real life!

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Eight weeks ago I started my Young Enterprise journey, and boy has it been a rollercoaster.

For those of you that don’t know, Young Enterprise is the UK’s largest Business and Enterprise education charity which gives 15-19 year olds the chance to run their own companies for a year with help from mentors and advisors.

Along with four other sixth form students from Tupton Hall School, we created and set up Big Day Events – a promotions company for community-based events which endeavours to “transform the memory of your big day from good to outstanding”!

More than anything else these past weeks have opened my eyes to just how much respect is owed to anybody who has single-handedly set up and manages a successful business.

Going into Young Enterprise, I thought that I had quite a lot of experience in business for someone my age. I have been working part time at a local lettings agent for 18 months and have been working for my dad’s boat renovation and property development business since I was 12. Although we don’t always see eye- to-eye within our Young Enterprise team, we have each other and the knowledge that we don’t have to do it solo.

It has brought home to me just how much work is involved in running your own business. Although there are five of us involved in Big Day Events, each of us is having to juggle running a company alongside studying four A-levels.

I hate it when ‘grown-ups’ assume that because we are still in school all we do is a little bit of homework and party all the time. Trust me, this isn’t the case. And whoever thought of the name ‘free periods’ needs to consult a dictionary.

Whilst the workload of an A Level student is heavy, you’re supported by teachers. There are 300 Sixth Form students at Tupton Hall going through the same thing, but my Young Enterprise experience has shown me that we are in fact spoon-fed at school.

In the working world, our full-time studies will eventually be replaced by a career and a whole load of other responsibilities to manage alongside it – like juggling childcare, managing money, keeping on top of the housework, the weekly shop, and so on – things we don’t have to worry about for a few years yet!

Our mentor has created and manages a successful business, has a family and two small boys to look after, yet still finds time to kick five teenagers into shape and show them how to run a growing business.

If I am being honest here, the reason that I (and most of the group) decided to take part in Young Enterprise was because it looks good on your CV, it’s a chance to make money and gain a bit of business experience.

As we’ve gone on our Young Enterprise journey, I know I’m not the only one who has really had their eyes opened and started to value the experience more than the money we’ll be making (hopefully).

It’s a cliché, but I have taken so much more from Young Enterprise experience than I ever thought I would.

I guess what I am trying to say is well done to everybody who has set up a successful business on their own. I have so much admiration for you!

Also, thank you to everybody who has helped us along the way, and provided the valuable business advice and encouragement that has helped get our company off the ground.

If you want to see Big Day Events in action, then come and see Tupton Hall School’s production of Scrooge 2012 on the 5th, 6th and 7th December. Detail

by Lucy Harris