Battle of the Businesses for Sussex’s Young Entrepreneurs

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Young entrepreneurs in Sussex will be flexing their business savvy at the Young Enterprise Trade Fair in Horsham town centre on Saturday December 1.

This year about 100 students are taking part in running eight companies across the North Sussex area covering Horsham and Crawley, with each company supported by volunteers from the local business community.

The Company Programme is offered to students aged between 15 and 19 in local schools and supports them to set up and run their own real business.

The Trade Fair from 9am to 4pm in the Carfax will see the eight companies from Millais School (Horsham), Farlington School (Horsham), Holy Trinity School (Crawley) and Thomas Bennett Community College (Crawley).

The annual trade fair is part of the year long scheme run by Young Enterprise. Throughout the year the students run their companies with the advice and support of an adviser who is a volunteer from the local business community.

The students will take part in all of the functions of a normal business, including sales, marketing, finance, manufacturing and record keeping.

They set up a bank account, sell shares in their company and produce a set of accounts, and when the business is closed at the end of the school year they have to pay VAT and Corporation Tax on any profits.

The scheme aims to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs and prepare young people for the world of work.

Madeleine Mills, Young Enterprise Manager for West Sussex, said: “The Trade Fair provides the companies with a fantastic opportunity to sell direct to general public and practice their sales techniques.

“We provide them with a table and they must create their own market stall and decide how best to display their products.

“Through the day the companies will be judged and one company will walk away with the ‘Best Trade Stand’ award.

“These types of events also provide the local residents with a chance to meet the up and coming young entrepreneurs who will be running businesses in the future.

“Our recent survey to celebrate our 50th anniversary has found that students who take part in this programme are almost twice as likely to end up running their own firms as their peers.

“Previous participants are running businesses with a larger turnover, they are more likely to employ people, they are more innovative and they are more resilient in a recession.”

The Trade Fair is organised by the North Sussex Board of Young Enterprise in partnership with Horsham District Council who provide the space and the Horsham Rotary Club who provide the marquee.