Teens Turn Tenners into Tonnes!

Teens Turn Tenners into Tonnes!

HMS - her majesty´s smile by Johny hanging head down from the tree.

This year’s Make Your Mark with a Tenner, the national challenge to see what thousands of young people can achieve with just ten pounds in one month, has come to an end.  The results are, we hope, a breath of fresh air amidst the doom and gloom of the financial crisis;

· The largest profit was £736 and the average profit was £42, compared with a return of just 2p from a savings account!

· Make Your Mark with a Tenner competition winners have been congratulated personally by entrepreneur and ‘Dragon’ Peter Jones, one of the funders of the scheme.

If this is the first time you’ve heard of ‘TENNER‘, here’s what it’s all about;

Thousands of young people from across the UK (20,000 registered and 16,000 took part) were challenged to make a profit AND a difference with their £10 by working alone or in groups.  The results far outstrip the return they’d have got from the bank or by dabbling on the stock market.  Given just one month to make as much money and social impact as they could, the idea was funded by NESTA, Peter Jones and by Michael and Xochi Birch (who founded and sold Bebo).

In the week that all financial eyes fall on the Budget, these enterprising teens are proof that measures to support entrepreneurs and start up companies are the important to the future of UK Plc.

The best individual return on a single tenner was a staggering £736.  Henry Pearce from St Thomas’s Church in Kent donned a 1920s bathing suit in a ‘historic costume show’ and used his entrepreneurial savvy to get people to pay for this novel experience. After returning his £10 loan, he has decided his profits will go to a Kenyan school, Molo 220, and the competition also helped the Church form strong links with a local special school.

The best group return was £493 (on £20) by two students from Cullompton Community College, Devon. They compiled a recipe book with recipes collected from local business people, then sold the books for £1 each or £1.50 for a signed copy.

Tenner Gets Shirty by Your Funny Uncle.

Other enterprising and hugely profitable ideas included a Bollywood Dance performance, a silent disco and a healthy tuck shop.  Community cohesion was a major theme amongst the entries. A team from St Kentigerns Academy in Scotland created a concert to get young people in their area off the streets, while an outstanding individual effort from Ashley Maugan – a young Irish traveller living on a caravan site near Hackney – saw her spend her £10 on bulk buying products to set up a shop for children in her community, who were previously relying on their parents for lifts to the local supermarket.

Across the top 100 entries, the average profit was an impressive £42 on £10 in just one month.

Jennifer Campbell, one of the award-winning students from St Kentigerns, said:

“Make Your Mark with a Tenner helped me to develop skills which I don’t think you can ever be taught in a classroom, like using my own initiative and creativity. Because it was our own idea and we were driving the project, rather than being told to do something by a teacher, it made us really motivated to do well and prove ourselves. It’s also made me think much more seriously about the idea of owning and running my own business in the future.”
Harry Rich, Chief Executive of the Make Your Mark campaign which co-founded and runs the competition, said:

“These stunning profits on an investment of just £10 are testament to the entrepreneurial skill and tenacity of our young people.  Entrepreneurs and start-up companies will lead us out of the recession and the skilled execution of ambitious business ideas in Make Your Mark with a Tenner makes me even more optimistic and hopeful for the future.”

As the Chancellor makes the finishing touches to his Budget speech, he should look no further than our tenner winners for inspiration!  A Tenner invested in the FTSE during February would have LOST money, but these young people managed to turn in an extremely healthy profit averaging £42!  I reckon that this underlines why entrepreneurial activity is so important in teaching students not only about managing and making money, but in giving them the opportunity to explore how they can combine turning a profit with making a difference.

Commenting on the success of students generating such good profits during an economic downturn, Andrew Haigh, Managing Partner, Entrepreneurs Client Group at Coutts & Co, said:

“Entrepreneurs across the country are battling to build their businesses in tough times.  It’s not easy.  So it’s great to see the undoubted success achieved by these young would-be entrepreneurs, who represent the future of enterprise in this country.  It doesn’t get much harder than this so to succeed now is just fantastic.  Well done.”

Make Your Mark with a Tenner is run by Make Your Mark, the campaign to give young people the confidence, skills and ambition to be enterprising. It is supported by NESTA (the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) and funded by entrepreneurs Peter Jones and Michael and Xochi Birch, the founders of social networking site Bebo.

Judging the Make Your Mark with a Tenner Awards were Baroness Kingsmill, entrepreneur and founder of chiconomise.com Michelle Dewberry, business guru Faisel Raman of Fair Finance, and journalist Jamie Oliver.

Speaking at the Awards event at NESTA on Tuesday 21 April, entrepreneur and Make Your Mark chairman, Peter Jones, said:

“Congratulations to all the winners for their magnificent effort. These budding young entrepreneurs have shown that they have the drive and determination necessary to make things happen. In a time when teenagers are often portrayed as the source of society’s problems, I’m pleased that Make Your Mark with a Tenner has helped them to demonstrate the opposite – that young people are creative and innovative and that they can be trusted with cold, hard cash to help improve things for themselves and others.”

I’d like to say a personal THANK YOU to the funders, Peter Jones, Michael and Xochi Birch and NESTA.  I would also like to use this space to thank Andrew Reynolds and the Entrepreneur Channel (also to Shaa Wasmund for super-connecting), who funded the very first Make Your Mark with a Tenner in 2007 (with 10,000 participants) for his generosity and support in backing an untested concept. 

Most of all, I’d like to thank Make Your Mark.  Especially to Tom Savage who first conspired with me, Scott Cain who championed it from day one, Luc Benyon who project managed Tenner, Catherine Ritman Smith who led the education team to deliver the scheme, and to all of the team at MYM HQ who really make things happen.  

Without these people, Make Your Mark with a Tenner would have stayed just another idea.

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