A group of Seaford students enjoyed great success in the annual Young Enterprise challenge, winning best company in Arun and Chichester to progress to the Sussex final, where they narrowly missed out on a place in the National Finals.
Young Entrerprise is the UK’s leading enterprise and financial education charity, empowering young people to develop the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in work and in life and over 15,84 companies competed in the programme nationally.
The Seaford College students chose to set up a tie-dye company, and used a fantastic pun to create their company name, To Dye For. “One of the main objectives is to learn about business and increase confidence,” said Joseph Amin, Managing Director of To Dye For. “We raised money to start the business by selling shares in the business, and then produced four main products. Along with tie-dyed t-shirts, socks and laces, we also made a do-it yourself kit with instructions, bands, and a dye.”
“Our main idea was to get colourful products that stand out,” Ilva Koch, the Marketing Director, told us. And their products certainly stand out from the crowd, with bright colours and bold, creative branding.
The team divided the various roles among themselves, and took their products to a number of sales events, including a Christmas Fair, Lakeside 1000, and the local Graffham Fair. They even sold out of stock at a couple of their events. To support the business, they created their own website, social media spaces, as well as printing business cards and stickers, to help market the business. And, over the year, they made £300, and almost delivered a double return on investment for their investors.
At the Arun and Chichester awards, just before Easter, they won not only Best Company, but 7 other awards, including Best Branding, Best Business Plan, and Best Website. And, by winning best company, they qualified for the Sussex Finals, which took place two weeks ago.
The competition at the Sussex Finals was extremely fierce. All 6 companies had fantastic looking stands and had developed some brilliant companies and products, from revision guides (RIPPS) and clip-on phone lenses (Optec), to marbled painted mugs (Marbellous) and flower crowns (Lunaria).
There were three stages to the judging process. The business report and accounts were submitted and evaluated prior to the awards.
Each companies’ Trade Stand was judged at the Sussex Finals in Brighton University. After setting up their vibrant and eye catching stand, the Seaford students were interviewed by many of the judges wandering around, and they all gave a fantastic account of themselves, with measured and thoughtful responses.
The final stage to the judging process was the Company Presentation. To Dye For had the difficult task of being the first company up, and gave a very strong and interesting presentation.
There were 7 Awards up for grabs in total, and To Dye For were awarded Best Branding, and Best Trade Stand, narrowly missing out on one of the two Best Company spots that would enable them to progress further to the Nationals Finals.
It’s clear that they not only had a lot of fun, but also took a lot from the process. “It’s been really helpful for me, personally, approaching strangers and talking with them,” said Jo Amin. “Not just talking to them, but talking about them possibly buying one of our products. At the moment we’re raising money for a rugby tour this summer, and I’ve been going to potential sponsors. Young Enterprise has really helped with that.”
Ilva also really enjoyed the challenge. “I want to do marketing at university, and I felt I learnt a lot, working with James, our Sales Director, and Hugo, who did our designs. Other than the marketing side of it, I learnt a lot about organisation and communication. We had a few struggles, getting everyone together for the meetings, but by the end it worked smoothly, with everyone aware of what they needed to do. I learnt so much, and had fun doing it.”