We take innovation and enterprise very seriously at Emanuel and pupils are given plenty of opportunity to get their entrepreneurial juices flowing at various stages throughout their time at the school. In fact, the school has taken a pioneering step in this area and has implemented a ‘Dragons’ Den’ style competition amongst the local primary schools that our staff help with and host each year.

In Year 8, pupils are encouraged to participate in Peter Jones’ ‘Tycoon’ programme in groups of five or six. Tycoon is a national enterprise competition aimed at pupils between 11 and 18 years old. Entrants submit a business plan, and if selected, are awarded seed funding for their business. 2018-19 was the first year Emanuel has taken part, and we started with several teams, of which ‘EcoForm’ and ‘Ugly Fruit Crisps’ did particularly well.

In Year 9, pupils get the chance to enter our own Dragons’ Den competition. Groups of entrepreneurs go up in front of some ‘big hitters’ from the real world of business and pitch their business idea to try to win one of five prizes. The teams work hard during the year to create a business plan and presentation in a bid to impress the judges. The business ideas the groups developed in 2018-19 covered an eclectic mix of industries, which included footwear, confectionery, art and social media. The presentations were well-rehearsed and presented with confidence, even under heavy questioning from our guest business leaders. The teams’ content also showed an excellent awareness of the social trends and challenges facing many small businesses today such as the problems of creating a sustainable business and the trials of setting up in a challenging high street environment.

The 'EcoForm' team with their website

Pupils in Years 10 and 11 are not formally involved in any specific enterprise competition but the Life Education programme has social enterprise as a core part of the curriculum.

In the sixth form, students are encouraged to take part in the Europe-wide Young Enterprise competition. Starting at very local level, teams are eliminated through a series of rounds, competing with approximately 950 UK schools each year. Emanuel has a good record and have been within one round of the national finals for the last two years. Only 14 schools get to the national finals, so we are hopefully on the cusp of something great!

The Industry Champions programme also runs throughout the lower sixth. Students are put in groups with a business mentor from the parent body or from our alumni, who are always more than willing to help. This culminates in the ‘Entrepreneur and You’ event in June.

There are a host of other exciting enterprising activities that pupils can get involved in throughout their school careers. These include lectures, speakers, essay competitions and even the chance to join the Digital Music Club. This an area that is constantly evolving and different ideas and initiatives get tried and tested all of the time. Pupils are encouraged to be innovative and entrepreneurial and they are always welcome to suggest ways that we can increase and improve our offering in this area.

Our Young Enterprise team 2018-19, 'Happy Tails & Co' at the Wandsworth Southside trade fair