Inspiring Business by Sharing Success

Leicester school children unleash entrepreneurial spirit to help small businesses overseas

Students at Leicester’s Judgemeadow Community College have raised £527.00 for small business owners in developing countries, through a ground-breaking initiative that supports and realises children’s entrepreneurial potential.

Designed to encourage school pupils to develop business skills whilst supporting growing businesses overseas, the pioneering School Enterprise Programme (SEP) is run by financial and business adviser Grant Thornton UK LLP.

Grant Thornton’s Leicester office became the firm’s first to run the scheme outside of London last year, and has this year again joined forces with Judgemeadow Community College’s staff and 11 and 12-year-old pupils in Year 7.

Leading Grant Thornton’s Leicester-based School Enterprise Programme team are Fayola Francis and Preity Birring.

They have been supported by a group of managers and advisers from Grant Thornton’s Leicester audit, tax, advisory and support services teams, who have mentored the students.

Fayola Francis explains:

“The Programme focuses on developing the students’ financial, entrepreneurial, leadership and communication skills, whilst generating money for microfinance loans. These loans enable small business owners in developing countries to establish and grow businesses, helping them to work their way out of poverty with dignity.

“Working with microfinance organisation Care Lendwithcare, which is part of Care International, the Leicester School Enterprise Programme lent more than £700 to small business owners in Ecuador, Malawi and Zimbabwe last year, and this year, the students from Judgemeadow College have added a further £527.

“Through games and exercises and by giving students the opportunity to set up and run their own microbusinesses in real life, the Programme enables them to learn what it’s like to be an entrepreneur and how businesses affect the world around them.”

She adds:

“The Programme’s format means the children must apply their knowledge to develop and operate their own microbusiness concepts. It also teaches them about investing money, as through microfinance, all of their profits are invested into entrepreneurs in the developing world.

Last week, Grant Thornton hosted a Winners’ Day at the Leicester office for the top teams and Judgemeadow staff.

Elise Aston, Senior Lendwithcare Executive, added:

“We are delighted to see the students at Judgemeadow engaging with Lendwithcare in this wonderful way. We hope they will enjoy the Lendwithcare experience of choosing entrepreneurs and lending and relending the money they have raised. Thank you so much for your fantastic support!”

Photo: Chris Frostwick (centre), practice leader of Grant Thornton’s Leicester office, with Year 7 pupils from Judgemeadow Community College who took part in Grant Thornton’s School Enterprise Programme.

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