BiG Challenge 8 launched at MADE


The eighth annual BiG Challenge competition supported by Sheffield City Council was launched at MADE, the UK’s Festival of Entrepreneurship, on 25th September.

David Grey MBE, Chair of the BiG Challenge steering group, officially announced BiG Challenge 8 open for business. Sheffield City Councillor Jackie Drayton was also one of the VIP speakers who helped to get the competition off to a flying start, together with two former winners, Jack Crofts and Chikumo Fiseko.

Jack Crofts from team Scrabtags explained how he started his business at Stocksbridge High School and is now studying at the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy at The Sheffield College.  Jack runs his business, The Young Entrepreneur Foundation, providing support and guidance for young entrepreneurs in Sheffield under the age of 18.

A former winner in the Post-16 category of BiG Challenge, Chikumo Fiseko of Mostly Muffins is now entering her second year as an undergraduate at the Sheffield Hallam University,  studying for a degree in Business.   She has added to her already successful ‘Mostly Muffins’ business with a new range of Tiger J Chocolates.

David Grey, soon to assume office as Master Cutler, told the gathered audience of 200 guests at Sheffield City Hall, ‘It’s time for you to come up with an idea, form a team, receive £25 and start your business.  The skills you acquire are an invaluable addition to the things you learn at school.’

Over the next six months teams aged 11-19 from across Sheffield’s secondary schools and colleges will compete to win ‘the BiG Prize’ – a fully paid 5-star overseas trip – as well as a host of other prizes and personal rewards.

Teams of between 1-8 students have to form a business to win. Each business is given a £25 cash investment, as a starter towards their business objective of making as much profit as possible within the BiG Challenge timeframe, employing teamwork, innovation and entrepreneurship.  Having repaid the £25 investment plus a further £5 interest on the investment, teams can retain their profit in the business or the team, or donate their profit to charity.

The winning criteria include:

  • Profit made
  • The ideas and methods used
  • Teamwork
  • Use of external networks and resources
  • Marketing and communication
  • Potential beyond the timeframe of the BiG Challenge
  • And not least…..the fun enjoyed and enthusiasm communicated by the team

See below for details of this year’s winners, Aroma Blossom, who went on a fantastic trip to Berlin!

We hope you enjoy the BiG Challenge 8 launch video which is currently doing the rounds of assemblies in schools.


BiG Challenge 2014 Winners

BC7 Winners

Five students from Tapton School scooped the top prize of a business trip to Berlin at the prestigious 7th annual BiG Challenge for school and college students, involving around 1200 students aged 11-19 across the city of Sheffield.

Over 400 teams applied to enter the Challenge in October and over 240 teams were selected to compete by 24 Sheffield academies, schools and colleges. Each team was given an initial £25 investment to start and grow their business over a six month period.

The top 30 businesses that competed generated an average return of ten times their initial £25 investment. After a Dragon’s Den style finale in front of a panel of business and education leaders, 12 teams were shortlisted from eight academies, schools and colleges.

Facing an excited audience of winners, parents, teachers and business supporters at the Royal Victoria Holiday Inn, David Grey, Managing Director of OSL Group Holdings Ltd and Chair of the BiG Challenge (pictured top left), opened the Awards ceremony by thanking the 200 educational leaders and and teachers involved in the Challenge, as well as the growing number of commercial sponsors – including new sponsors Henry Boot Construction and Panache Lingerie.  He said, “As a city, Sheffield is very much on the move, positioning itself as a powerful source of innovation with a massive range of engineering and digital products.  It is great to see that Sheffield is now experiencing business employment growth above the national average and has been listed by the Financial Times in the top 10 European Cities of the future.”

Addressing young entrepreneurs aged as young as 12 in the audience he added, “I believe you are growing up in a time of increasing opportunity for business in Sheffield and especially for innovative products and services.  ‘Made in Sheffield’ not only means a lot because of our history – it resonates around the world because of what it is now and what it is becoming.”

The 12 award winners included multiple commendations for Aroma Blossom (Tapton School), Harvey Morton IT (Meadowhead School), Heartfelt (All Saints Catholic High School), Jameo (Forge Valley School) and LucKey (High Storrs School).  See pictures of all the award winners in the BiG Challenge News: BiGChallengeNewsforSchoolsApril2014AwardsSpecial

The overall winning business was Aroma Blossom from Tapton School.  This team of Year 9 students produced and sold handmade candles, soaps, bath-bombs and body butters made from natural, vegan and eco-friendly ingredients. The team commented, “Being involved in the BiG Challenge has been an amazing experience.  We have learnt so many new skills that will continue to be valuable throughout our lives.  Without the BiG Challenge, we would be lacking in many of our new-found skills, which can only be gained through this sort of experience, instead of a classroom.”

The team won an all-expenses-paid trip to Berlin sponsored by DLA Piper.  Richard May, Managing Partner at DLA Piper’s Sheffield office (pictured top right), said, “The BiG Challenge is a very important to us.  Highlighting the talents and entrepreneurial flair in young people from across the Sheffield City Region, it helps students to build their commercial skills and confidence, whilst providing them with an insight into what it takes to be successful in business.”

Cllr Julie Dore, Leader of Sheffield City Council, who presented the award for Customer Service, commented, “The BiG Challenge winners will surely be playing a leading role in the city in 10 years’ time.”

The BiG Challenge competition, first launched in 2007, is open to all schools and colleges throughout Sheffield and gives young people aged 11-19 the opportunity to start a business with an investment of £25.

The competition is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Sheffield City Council as part of its Enterprise programme for schools and colleges.

The BiG Challenge Awards are co-sponsored by:

  • DLA Piper – sponsors of the Grand Prize for the fifth year, a trip to Berlin for this year’s winning teams
  • Holiday Inn Royal Victoria Sheffield – sponsors of the venue for the BiG Awards for the fifth year
  • Henry Boot Construction – new sponsors of the Key Stage 4 Award
  • Panache Lingerie – new sponsors of the Best Presentation to the Judges
  • Barber Harrison & Platt – sponsors of the Biggest Profit Made Award
  • Made In Sheffield – sponsors of the Made In Sheffield Award
  • Nando’s – sponsors of the Customer Service Awards
  • Sheffield International Venues – sponsors of the Sport & Entertainment Award
  • Sheffield Wednesday FC – sponsors of the Best Continuing Business
  • Yorkshire Bank – sponsors of the Flying Start Awards and finance mentoring sessions for young entrepreneurs
  • Freeman College – makers of the bespoke trophies
  • Sheffield Hallam University and University of Sheffield – sponsors of the Shining Stars Award






Sheffield Enterprise wins ‘High Impact’ badge again

131209 MY2 Impact Event2

For the third year running Sheffield’s School Enterprise Champions ran a Make Your Mark 2 event to celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week. Once again it was awarded a ‘High Impact’ badge from the Global Entrepreneurship Week team.

Schools across Sheffield either sent a team to take part in the central event hosted at the University of Sheffield, or ran the challenge within school. Six teams were shortlisted to compete at the Finals held at Barclays Bank in Sheffield city centre on 9th December.  First place went to a team from Tapton School.  Runners up were a team from Meadowhead School.

The competition was themed around the Tour de France Grand Depart 2014. Our thanks to South Yorkshire Travel who supported the event by giving all the finalists cycling goody bags.