In February, we were delighted to receive the news that a team of four of our students were amongst the top 20 teams selected for the 'LIVE Stage' of the iDEA (Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award) competition.
After successfully completing the Discovery and Beta phases of the competition, the group have now received funding of £2,500 to further develop their digital business idea 'Mana Audio' which they will present at the LIVE Stage Final. The team of four Year 12 Business Studies and Economics students (Mahira Sajid, Amandeep Gill, Nitin Passap and Anton Paul - a.k.a MANA) and Mr Aston attended the LIVE Stage launch event on Thursday 12 February, at Telefonica’s London Headquarters, in London.
What is iDEA?
iDEA aims to support 16-25 year olds to develop and improve their digital and entrepreneurial skills. The programme has been designed to boost the confidence of young people and increase their employability status at the same time. It will support young people in developing a digital business venture, enabling them to build prototypes and test the viability of their business idea with real customers in the market.
Discovery Phase - 12 December 2014
All Year 10 GCSE Business Studies and Computing students and Year 12 AS Business Studies and Economics students participated in the iDEA Challenge Discovery Phase (run by the Nominet Trust and supported by HRH Duke of York). In teams, students were asked to create a new digital product/service idea and business plan, and provide a video presentation for the national competition entry. The day was challenging and rewarding for all the students working alongside Highfields staff and iDEA facilitators.
Beta Phase - 17 January 2014
Twelve Highfields teams (39 students) made it into the top 100 teams, from over 730 teams across the country. This meant they had the opportunity to visit the Beta Launch Day at Barclays Bank Headquarters in Canary Wharf. The students and staff (Mr Aston, Mr Johnson and Mrs Preece) had an exciting day taking part in seminars and tutorials on how to complete a more detailed business plan and sales pitch for a chance to reach the last 20 teams in the competition.
Live Stage - Launch Event
At the launch, the students had to deliver a sales pitch to 25 business mentors and other teams. They performed well and met their business mentor who will support them throughout this stage of the competition, by weekly video conference. Business mentors at the event ranged from Directors of Barclays and BBC, to Managing Directors and former Apple Senior Programmers, as well as many other highly experienced and successful businessmen and women. The team were truly inspired by the opportunities presented during the day and enjoyed the experience immensely.
The group are now one of twenty teams developing their 'iDEA' for the LIVE Stage Final. If selected, they will compete with 9 other finalists and pitch their digital business idea to an expert panel of judges at the Live final.
The three ventures that show the most potential will be awarded £15,000 funding and visit Buckingham Palace in April 2015, when they will meet HRH Prince Andrew. They would also receive continuing support from a range of businesses (including Microsoft and Barclays) to further develop their digital product into a successful business start-up.
The students have experienced a once in a lifetime opportunity to work with and be recognised by highly successful business people in the UK, and I very much hope their hard work and commitment pays off with them reaching the final 10 teams.
Mr Aston, Head of Business and Enterprise