Learning how to be an entrepreneur like Dundee’s Chris van der Kuyl starts at school.
And a team at Monifieth High School are among the latest young business minds to be nurtured by the same initiative which gave the gaming industry leader an early taste of commerce.
Four of the school’s S5 pupils set up a company called Pangea and took on different roles, led by managing director Neave Petrie.
They competed in Young Enterprise Scotland – the schools programme which 4J Studios founder van der Kuyl told us was a “lightbulb moment” for him.
Pangea were one of three school companies in the Tayside regional event – held in partnership with Dundee and Angus College – and we met the young businesspeople to find out how they built their company and developed their product, the Pamper Hamper.
The product – Pamper Hamper
The £10 Pamper Hamper is gift box containing facemasks, candles, hot chocolate sachets and locally-sourced, handmade bath bombs.
Its range of products and team collaboration to produce it is reflected by the company name Pangea, taken from the supercontinent which existed on Earth millions of years ago.
Sales director – Eilan Page
“We all came up with suggestions for products that would be easy to develop and manufacture.
“Early on we came up with plants, fake ones and real ones, we thought about tote bags, then someone came up with hot chocolate bombs.”
Managing director – Neave Petrie
“Because we would be selling at the Christmas trade fair we wanted to come up with something that was like a gift box.”
Then Neave told how the team struck a deal with a parent who produced one of the items for what was to become the Pamper Hamper.
Marketing director – Eve Gardiner
“We looked online to see how we could make our product at the cheapest price so we would make the most profit.
“We saved money by buying the candles and hot chocolate in bulk and we bought the bath bombs from a local supplier.”
Finance director – Caitlin Hunter
“We sold them round the school and then at the trade fair. We went round the school talking to everyone and showing them what was in the hamper and we sold all but one.”
On each £10 Pamper Hamper, she told us, Pangea made £4 profit.
What did they learn?
It was business education teacher Jennifer Wilson who got the pupils involved with Young Enterprise Scotland, an experience she said would help when the youngsters when they apply for university or write their CVs.
She said: “The group has really had to work hard as a team.
“All four took Higher business so it’s been really good to give them a chance to apply what they have learned in class.
“It shows they can use their skills practically, build confidence and learn about different aspects of business, such as having to pay shareholders back.”
Past participant Chris van der Kuyl
When van der Kuyl took part, he was production director for a group selling t-shirts – standing him in good stead for embarking on business life for real.
He said: “Taking part in the Young Enterprise Scotland company programme was a lightbulb moment for me.
“I realised that I was able to be bold, take managed risks and to never be afraid to ask someone for help and advice.
“It is a safe space to develop the skills needed if you ever decide to set up an enterprise in the future.
“I would recommend to anyone that has the chance to take part in the company programme to grab it with both hands.”
What is Young Enterprise Scotland?
The Young Enterprise Scotland charity has been providing enterprise and financial education in schools and colleges since 1992.
Its company programme challenges schoolchildren aged 15 to 19 to design and make products, market them and manage the financial side of their business, with support from teachers, a volunteer business adviser and the YE Scotland area team.
Accredited to SCQF level – the equivalent of a Higher – it is recognised by UCAS for university enrolment.
This year over 1,100 students across Scotland have taken part.
Other Tayside teams who participated were:
- Arbroath High School – Lewis Fulton, Lucy Gill, Taylor McColl, Finlay McGruer and Kyle Thomson sold a series of keyrings.
- Kilgraston School – Zara Burns, India Duffy, Anna Turner, Tegan Otto, Robin Boels, Poppy Pratt, Genevieve Ndulue and Hannah Collins created a children’s mindfulness bag.
The Kilgraston School team won the Tayside final held at Forbes of Kingennie on Thursday.
Congratulations to Jute Joy from @Kilgraston School who took home company of the year at the @YoungEntTayside Regional Finals last night. See you at the Scottish Finals in June! pic.twitter.com/f94w6Hauam
— YoungEnterpriseScot (@YE_Scotland) March 25, 2022
Why should young people take part?
Many students have continued businesses started through YE Scotland or gone on to set up their own ventures.
Geoff Leask, YE Scotland chief executive officer, said: “The Young Enterprise Scotland Company Programme is a wonderful way for young people to develop the skills that they will need for life and work.
“The competencies acquired during this year long real life enterprise experience stay with a young person for many years. So many Alumni of the programme refer to their experience as life-changing.”
Anyone looking for more information on the YE Scotland Company Programme should contact email@example.com.