The Young Enterprise Scheme at Oxford High School offers girls in Year 12 the chance to set up and run a business for a year. They learn how to write Business Plans and Company Reports, producing, selling and marketing and all of the girls develop skills in team work and public speaking, visibly growing in confidence as they lead their businesses.

Our entrepreneurs have written children’s books, a student guide to Oxford and a teenage survival guide. They have produced hand-drawn prints of Oxford, a CD of local bands, bat boxes, a revision aid box, diaries, wristbands and have developed a bar-code system for dealing with out-of-date food in supermarkets. The girls have sold bracelets, musically-based services and designed leather and batik bags importing the finished products from India and Indonesia. Groups have made pitches to a national companies, negotiated deals in Indonesia, India and China, as well as in the UK, held a meeting at the European Commission in Brussels and dealt with issues involving intellectual property, patents and exchange rate risk. They have pitched to national companies and sold internationally. They have even hired a real live owl to help with their marketing of their children’s book.

One group designed an environmental board game, ”Mission Earth”, the concept of which they have sold to Gibsons Games, who have produced 10 000 of them, available in leading shops.   Recently, some of our students produced highly innovative cookbooks with QR codes and negotiated a deal with the Mid-Counties Co-Op to sell 8000 copies in total. They also entered a separate national competition designed for graduates where they reached the national finals and won the audience vote for the best company.

For the last 14 years, all of our groups have been brilliantly mentored by Graham Varney, a local businessman. Graham was awarded the Young Enterprise South East Business Adviser of the Year in 2008 and the National Business Adviser of the Year in 2010. His advice and belief in setting no limits on the potential of our girls have enabled them to demonstrate their impressive business acumen.

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