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Our Young Entrepreneurs initiative kicks off again!

BettyPic
By Betty Adamou, Founder and Host of the Young Entrepreneurs Club

Loyal readers of our blogs may have seen a little while ago that we launched the ‘Young Entrepreneurs Club which is an after-school course for local students to encourage entrepreneurial skills and nurture ambition. We are firm believers that there are many things that sometimes cannot be ‘taught’ but with the right guidance, entrepreneurial skills such as resourcefulness, resilience, initiative and even going above the call of duty are traits that can be evolved with the right kind of resources. 

As such, we started off this after-school club at Kingsmead School, in north London, which is where I went to school many years ago! The Young Entrepreneurs Club was a huge success at Kingsmead with their 14 young entrepreneurs.

Today, we are SO excited for 12 students at a different school, Enfield Grammar in North London, to pitch to our three ‘Dragons’ so they can (hypothetically) invest in their businesses.

The 12 students have already made and sold products and made a profit by working in teams, and since then have been working individually to prepare pitches to discuss their innovative products and services that would benefit the London Borough of Enfield. We’ve had students think of deli/restaurants to cater to the Mediterranean communities of Enfield, an Indie/Arthouse cinema to compete with Cineworld and offer alternative movie choices, an innovative app for delivery services, and much, much more. 

Paul McGhie
Paul McGhie, experienced Film Director & Producer is also on our panel of ‘Dragons’

We wholeheartedly thank the local and very talented entrepreneurs Paul McGhie (Director and Producer) Joseph Tremain (Actor) and Nicola Wright (Actress and Producer) for giving up their time to meet our young entrepreneurs later today! 

nicola wright
Talented Actress & Producer, Nicola Wright, who has kindly agreed to give up her time to be one of our ‘Dragons’
joe tremain
Joe Tremain, our second ‘Dragon’, who also knows what it’s like to run his own business and can give advice to the students!

Success at Kingsmead School with Young Entrepreneurs Club initiative

Last Thursday was sadly the last Young Entrepreneurs Club after-school session at Kingsmead Academy with their talented and smart Year 9 students. 

The Young Entrepreneurs Club is a new initiative started by Research Through Gaming, aimed at nurturing and inspiring entrepreneurial spirit in under 18’s in London schools, as some of you may have already read about in our kick-off blog here.

At RTG, we are extremely passionate about encouraging young people to see the many opportunities available to them in being entrepreneurs which we believe can also go a long way into helping the future UK economy.

In just 6 after-school sessions across 6 weeks, the students had achieved somuch and I was incredibly proud of all they had done. They had made and sold products (making over £112 in profit per team, might I add!) designed interesting new businesses and introduced new products and services, and pitched these in front of three ‘dragons’ (who were al local entrepreneurs).We started the first ever club at Kingsmead Academy, which seemed like a great fit, given that it’s the school I went to myself, growing up in Enfield, North London. The school has special status for the arts, so with many students leaving to become budding actors, artists and more, it felt even more important to teach entrepreneurial skills to students at this particular school.

The students all received certification in their last club session last week and not just taking part, but some of them received the special certifications for getting the best results on the evaluation forms for their Dragons Den style pitches. The ‘dragons’, (who were Asim Burney of Digital Age Research, Gemma Stokes of Podengo, and Paul McGhie of Poor Arthur Production film company and Leading Thought marketing company), all said how thoroughly impressed they were with the young entrepreneurs.

And not just impressed in the delivery of their pitch presentations, or the slides themselves, but even down to the amount of research they carried out in looking at competitors for their new products/services, and thinking about all the costs involved in starting a new business and the human resources they would need. We had social enterprises pitched to the Dragons, as well as sportswear accessories, useful software for schools, fashion apps, support services for young people, drone delivery services, and much more.

But what did our own research show about the club? The students and our schools’ club advocate, Mrs M. Richardson, all filled out evaluation forms, and I’m delighted to deliver these results below.

The school’s club advocate agreed that more students could benefit from joining the Y.E.C., (and Kingsmead would like to run another course next year!), and would recommend the club to other schools. The top 3 things that the schools’ club advocate found to be the most beneficial to students were,

  1. Encouraging them to speak in public,
  2. encouraging leadership skills as well as collaborative learning,
  3. and having opportunities to use their skills in a numbers of ways that is not always possible in the classroom.

The schools’ club advocate also agreed that more that 50% of the students:

  • Showed improved time-management skills
  • Showed higher levels than normal of resourcefulness
  • Showed more initiative and forward-thinking
  • Surprised her in their abilities overall
  • Developed more confidence overall
  • Developed more confidence in problem-solving

But what did the students think? We asked the young entrepreneurs what their top 3 moments were during the course, and the highest top 3 moments were:

  • designing their cakes (which was done partially based on their own market research),
  • the day of the cake bake sale (of whuch they were split into two teams and were swamped with customers!)
  • Meeting/pitching to the 3 ‘dragons’.

All students said they would recommend the club to other students which was great to see, and used words likefun, interesting, inspiring, challenging, realistic, and enjoyable to describe the course.

Using the evaluation forms, we also wanted to know if the students had a better understanding now, compared to the beginning of the course, of what they now grasped about ‘entrepreneurship’. We were able to see that the overall understanding was perhaps deeper; from the initial answers we had at the beginning of the course of ‘someone who owns a business’, we were now getting the students saying things like “A person who takes risks to run a business” and “There is a lot of hard work to be an entrepreneur and it takes a lot of commitment to be successful”.

As always, there is room for improvement with any new thing. Many of the students said they would have liked the course to have been longer with more theory involved, which is absolutely something we at RTG can think about doing for the next course.

It’s great to know that in just 6 sessions, we were able to help make a difference to these students. As part of the course, we’ll be sure to catch up with the Young Entrepreneurs from the club in the future, and see how the skills they’d grown during the 6 weeks had added to their lives in the future!

After the club had ended, I’d received a lovely email from one of the students. It had really made my day :)… “Like I said 2 days ago, thank you very much for everything that you have done for me. I understand more of how to be an entrepreneur and what it takes to be one and the club was fun. During this experience I learned how to create something and present it, which is one of my weakest points, I am quite shy in person. So thank you. If there is another club like this I will probably put my name first on the list.” 

As the course was naturally gamified, we saw all the students achieve more and more Entrepreneurial Badges on the achievement board, and some students achieved certain badges faster, but eventually we all saw the students gain their ‘Resilience’ badge, ‘Resourcefulness’ badge, ‘Initiative’ badge, ‘Fearlessness of Failure’ badge and more.

Now my own feedback: My husband and I were talking the other day, and he had asked me “what did you think of the club course? How do you think it went?”. As many of you know who have read the blogs about the Y.E.C. so far, I had personally facilitated the Young Entrepreneurs Club at Kingmead School and yes, doing so in and among all the things involved in running RTG, and our client projects made for a hectic time indeed! As I told my husband, yes it has been a busy time in preparing and running the course, as well as doing everything else. Yes, it has been a completely new experience and therefore, I’ve learned new things that were challenging to me in the beginning. But…in my career so far, and even having won awards and travelling the world, the experience of running the Young Entrepreneurs Club initiative is the most rewarding experience I’ve ever had. So it’s been decided; we’re definitely continuing with the Young Entrepreneurs Club at other schools! 

From the success of the Young Entrepreneurs Club at Kingsmead Academy, and how much I’ve enjoyed it as well, Research Through Gaming now have the opportunity to run this initiative at a new school; the Enfield Grammar school in London, starting next week! Watch this space for more updates 🙂

A massive thanks to Kinsgmead Academy, the young entrepreneurs, and to the school’s club advocate Mrs M. Richardson and of course the wonderful ‘dragons’ for making this initiative so successful and providing me with such an enjoyable and fun experience!

Updated unemployment figures mean the Young Entrepreneurs Club is more important than ever

This morning, it was announced that although 2,000 more people are now in employment in the UK, there are still 1.6 million people who are unemployed.

Having experiences both in employment with an organization, and being self-employed, there are pro’s and con’s to both sides. That’s why the Young Entrepreneurs Club initiative from Research Through Gaming is so important. 

It gives students the insight into business ownership, that they otherwise would not have had, so they can make the choice of which route to take. And essentially, know that they are resourceful enough to start their own businesses in the case they may find themselves in the unfortunate position of being made redundant, or simply finding it very difficult to gain employment for a number of reasons in their futures.

The future is unpredictable for employment – are we leaving the European Union, are we staying? How will the new economic climate encourage, or decrease, employment? Will this result in large companies pulling out their offices and factories from the UK, or not? Who knows.


As many of you know who follow this blog, you will see that we announced the launch of the Young Entrepreneurs Club four weeks ago, and you’ll see from our Facebook posts that the progress being made by the students is really great. When the young entrepreneurs worked in teams two weeks ago, they had just £10 per team to make cupcakes to sell. Sounds simple, but the students had to carry out market research, create marketing campaigns, project manage, price their products appropriately, make the cupcakes themselves, set out their stalls on the day etc. all while doing regular schoolwork and homework. In just one activity, the students had learned so much, and on the day of the cupcake sale they reaped their rewards. Each team made over £100 (one made £113 and the other £116) in less than 13 minutes and were absolutely
swamped with customers.What we can be certain of though, is that the future is unpredictable for employment. So with that in mind, that’s why I’m so passionate about encouraging students in secondary schools (any ages under 18) to think about being entrepreneurs.

In our most recent activity with the young entrepreneurs, the students are working individually to prepare a product or service that would be useful in the school or the wider Enfield Borough, and the ideas have been so incredibly diverse; from social enterprises, to drone manufacture, innovative sportswear, and more. The students will be presenting their pitches to four ‘dragons’ (local entrepreneurs) tomorrow and I’ve already seen some impressive pitch-decks.

So how does this relate to unemployment? The 15 students in the current Young Entrepreneurs Club are 13 and 14 now. But one day, they will be in their 20’s and 30’s and 40’s and so on, and may decide to open their own businesses. Let’s say of the 15 students, just 5 become self-employed. And let’s say each of the 5 students-now-adults hire 10 people. That’s 50 jobs.

Now let’s say there are 1,000 secondary schools in London. Each one has the Young Entrepreneurs Club, and runs the club once, with 15 students in each club. Again, 5 students from each club start their own businesses as adults, hiring 5 more people each. Including the entrepreneur who would have started the business, that’s 5,000 jobs. Five thousand. So what if secondary schools across England, Scotland and Northern Island adopted the club? That could be tens of thousands of jobs, just from inspiring students that entrepreneurship is genuinely within their grasp, and giving them the support they need to understand the many different aspects of business ownership.

I’m pleased to announce that today I’ll be speaking to a new school in the London Borough about the Y.E.C. This is the second but equally important step in taking this initiative to as many London schools as possible. Watch this space! More news to come!

New Young Entrepreneurs Club initiative from RTG kicks off this week!

The Young Entrepreneurs Club is an initiative set up by Research Through Gaming to help under 18’s realise their potential for entrepreneurship. It’s a project we’ve kept under wraps for a little while but at long last we can reveal this new programme we’ve set up to encourage entrepreneurial spirit with students from local schools!

We are starting the Young Entrepreneurs Club in our CEO and Founder, Betty Adamou’s, old secondary school,  Kingsmead, which is based in north London. This Thursday 21st April 2016 will be our first ever session hosting the Young Entrepreneurs Club there!

As you can imagine, not only is this initiative important for all of us here at RTG as we are passionate about encouraging the skills and disciplines that come with business ownership (and the fact that everyone involved in RTG also own their own successful businesses outside of RTG) but also a particularly passionate initiative for Betty Adamou, as she’ll be going ‘back to her roots’.

RTG have always been passionate about helping students, from our many Guest Lectures at schools and Universities to contributing to students books for research, we wanted to do something that really gave back.

The Young Entrepreneurs Club is a 10 week course that teaches under 18’s all those things that surprise entrepreneurs when they first start a business; getting a product/service off the ground, concisely articulating the benefits of what your product/service does, negotiating with suppliers, officially registering your business, dealing with competition, understanding profit and loss, pitching and presenting, marketing and much, much more.

Our plan with the Y.E.C. isn’t to necessarily ‘sell’ entrepreneurship to young people. The aim is to inspire ambitious under 18’s who think they may like to start their own business in the future and nurture that ambition through learning and activities as part of the course.

Naturally, being that this is an initiative set up by a company that designs games with function, we are incorporating our own games in the course to help the children learn and gain feedback which will help them grow their skills and confidence in a way that’s fun and engaging.

The Y.E.C. is a much-needed opportunity for under 18’s to see the reality of what is involved in starting (and maintaining) a business, while making the course an adventure teens can learn from, even if they don’t end up starting their own businesses one day.

The Y.E.C. is also focused on the ‘local’ element. By having a local businesses owner run the course (as Betty is still within a stone’s-throw from her old school), and by including local business owners in some club sessions for Q&A’s and other activities, we’re hoping to bridge the gap between ambitious kids and their thirst for interaction with real business owners who they might see walking around in their own neighbourhoods. Yes, these kids grow up with the likes of Mark Zuckerberg and Richard Branson; self-made million and billionaires, but what they don’t necessarily see or get to hear about is the graft and adventure that goes hand-in-hand with the ‘over-night’ successes. By connecting these young people to local business owners, it will give them a rare opportunity to fill gaps in knowledge. It’s all part of the philosophy to teach what goes on behind the scenes in a way that’s realistic and inspiring.

Our founder, Betty Adamou has the Y.E.C. close to her heart. She says: “I want each and every child who is in the Y.E.C. to never fear what they could become. To never see any obstacle as too big to overcome. I want them to be delirious with ambition and tell themselves that they can build the products/services/businesses they want and really believe that it is in their reach BECAUSE IT IS. Especially in this day and age where people can build empires from laptops at home and market through social media. I don’t want them to think that they can’t one day own their own business because they haven’t gone to some Ivy league school, or because their parents ‘don’t have the connections’.  There are so many teens I’ve been lucky to meet through guest lectures while at RTG who have a wonderful amount of confidence and self-belief. I want the Y.E.C. to be the trajectory that spurs that kind of enthusiasm in a productive direction.

When I was younger and had my heart set on doing something, I would then tell myself I’m not good enough. My mum would be appalled. She’d say “do you think these other people are more hard working, or more clever than you?” She’d always want me to give things a try at least. Even when starting RTG, I remember me and my mum were in her car, parked up, talking about me starting RTG as a business (which also meant giving up a well-paid job). I was 24. I had a bit of a panic about starting the company. I was saying “what if I make huge mistakes?”. She looked at me with such intensity and said to me (in Greek, so this is a rough translation) “You have to do this if your heart tells you to. And so what if you get it wrong? You will have bothered to do more than most people do in their lifetimes.” And there is was. I started RTG partly because my mumma told me so! These young people in the Y.E.C. need that push. They also need to be told that it is imperative to try – they owe it to themselves if they have that drive, ambition and ideas. And the Y.E.C. will be that much needed guide for learning and development to achieve their goals.”

RTG are entirely indebted to Kingsmead school for being so passionate about having us kick off the Y.E.C. initiative at their school this week, with 12 of their talented and ambitious students (who we cannot wait to meet!). Betty has always said how Kingsmead changed her life for the better as a young person. We’re so genuinely pleased we can now go back there and pay it forward.

For other schools interested in the Young Entrepreneurs after-school club for their under 18’s, please get in touch with us at rtg@researchthroughgaming.com or give us a call on 0207 887 2241.

Currently the Y.E.C. is available for schools in and around London, with expansion to other areas of the UK and countries in 2017 and 2018.