Schools get off the Mark with £10

Britain's brightest entrepreneurial talents have got £10 and one month to prove their mettle...

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

This week saw the launch of the 2009 Make Your Mark With A Tenner challenge (or MYMWAT, as it’s known to its friends) – a month-long competition to identify the UK’s best young entrepreneurs. The idea, if you don’t remember it from last year, is that 20,000 young whippersnappers are given a nice crisp £10 note, and have exactly one month to make as much money (and social impact) as possible. At a time when there’s no good reason to put your money in the bank, it's as good a way as any to make a decent return...

The idea of giving a teenager ten pounds, and expecting them to give it back to you with interest, might seem more far-fetched than an expectation of privacy backstage at the BBC. But MYMWAT’s organisers insist that it’s a much better bet than it sounds: apparently last year, the average entrant made a profit of £90, while one participant turned his stake into £410, and one group of five finished up a tasty £1,000. So it’s not the exercise in misguided optimism that it might appear at first glance.

Here at MT, we’re always on the lookout for the next generation of Richard Bransons (well, not literally – that would be scary). So when the competition is over, we’ll be bringing you a chat with the winning wealth-creators. And just to whet your appetite, we thought we’d give you a flavour of some of the competition – many of whom braved the snow and overcame the meltdown of the public transport system to make it into central London for Monday’s launch...

Students from Holmer Green School in High Wycombe are holding a series of African-themed events, to raise money for a school in Kenya – including an Africa day and a talent show. ‘It’s a great chance for students to engage in business and learn how to become leaders,’ says deputy head Michael Jones. Meanwhile sixth-formers from Acland Burghey School in Camden have all kinds of excitement planned – for instance Year 13 student Faik Aktulga is going to sell healthy meze, while Year 12 student Leon Silcott plans to make cakes from different countries. ‘It’s a baking hot idea. They will sell like hot cakes because... they are hot cakes,’ enthuses Leon (thus getting our vote for the best quote of the day).

Meanwhile, a group of students from Manchester Academy will be reprising their successful enterprise of last year: selling origami to local businesses. In contrast with the other competition entrants, that’s one business we really hope will fold.

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