The latest from St Albans Chamber of Commerce

PUBLISHED: 10:45 15 May 2014 | UPDATED: 11:26 15 May 2014

The Vineyard Church in Brick Knoll Park hosted the Young Enterprise St Albans and Harpenden Company of the Year competition last Wednesday.

Young Enterprise offers a unique opportunity for young people to set up and run their own companies at school. The students experience at first hand the many challenges of running a business and develop a variety of important skills. They make real products and a real profit so it is a powerful learning experience.

This has been another successful year with over 100 student companies operating in schools across Hertfordshire. I was invited by PwC to judge the shortlisted companies last week which was a very difficult challenge. The teams from the following schools were all very inspirational and could well be young leaders of the future: St Albans High School for Girls, Sandringham, Sir John Lawes, Loreto College and St Albans School.

Each company had a visual stand which I and several other judges visited asking the teams in depth questions about the business and their experiences. Such as how difficult was it to make decisions as a team with different personalities involved? How did you communicate as a team? Did you carry out any market research before deciding on your product? What skills have you picked up along the way that may help you in a future in business? Following the exhibition each team gave short presentations on stage which were then followed up by tough questions from the judging panel.

The winners were Vintage Heroes from Loreto College and the runners-up were Blank Canvas from St Albans High School for Girls.

It was great to be involved and celebrate the achievements of these entrepreneurial young people at such a motivating and enjoyable event. Well done to all involved it is very encouraging to see such young people so focused on success and aware of the challenges and tough decisions they may face in the future.

Facing and overcoming challenges and difficulty in business can be the difference between success and failure and locally we must thank STANTA (St Albans Enterprise Agency) who have been delivering expert advice to the business community for over 30 years now!

STANTA are celebrating this milestone tonight (Thursday May 15) and unveiling a new brand and website together with their plans to continue to support St Albans district businesses in the future.

Administration manager Ginny Cooper said: “We are very proud of the Enterprise Agency’s achievements and look forward to celebrating with the STANTA directors, Chamber members, sponsors, current and past clients this evening.”

If you need business advice for your new or established business get in touch with the STANTA team on 01727 837760 or via www.stanta.co.uk .

The first St Albans Mayor’s Sprint Triathlon took place at Westminster Lodge on Sunday, I myself took part as did many other members of the Chamber. I must congratulate the team at Westminster Lodge for their organisational skills hosting such a large scale community event. Participants from all over the district took part ranging from 12 years old to a few in their 60s. Over £4,000 was raised in sponsorship for Grove House Hospice. Let’s hope this is an annual event – a great location to support a great local charity. If you have still not been to Westminster Lodge, give them a call for a tour of the facilities on 01727 736080. I am sure you will be impressed. Chamber members can benefit from a corporate rate which is very affordable and competitive.

Our next event is Speed Networking which is back at Westminster Lodge on Wednesday May 21 at 6pm, places can be booked online now. We hope to see you there!

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