RS Components has hosted the annual Young Enterprise fair at its Weldon head office.
This occasion marked 15 years of support by RS for the national education charity.
Pupils taking part this year included those from Brooke Weston, Corby Business Academy and Kingswood, who presented businesses ranging from Splash (bath bomb making kits) and Teatime Aromas (home fragrances) to Inscentive (natural soy candles) among many others.
The student teams set out their stalls at the trade fair to promote and sell their products to RS employees, who were particularly impressed by the evolution of the marketing process this year, with channels such as YouTube (for product demonstrations), Facebook and Twitter being widely used.
As well as financial support from RS’ My Community fund, the young entrepreneurs were able to access business advice and guidance from employees of the company.
RS business analyst and business adviser for Splash Nick Riley said: ”I have found the experience really rewarding, seeing a group of young people learning to work together collaboratively and watching the dynamics of the group emerge.
“We meet up once a week and I help coach and mentor the team to enable them to develop their ideas.
“It is a really positive process and the students value the external input.
“I would recommend the experience to anyone.
“It’s great for my own personal development and a way for me to give back something to the community.”
Enterprise manager from Young Enterprise Robin Neighbour said: “This year, we had more teams than ever taking part in the Young Enterprise company programme, which was fantastic.
“With 19 companies, we are having to hold two area finals.
“I am always amazed at the level of standard these groups achieve in a short time, and I’d like to extend a huge thank you to RS and My Community for their support as without them the event wouldn’t have been possible.”
The event culminated in the awarding of the Frank Maguire Shield to Inscentive from Corby Business Academy, for the business demonstrating the best sales and marketing approach.
Global head of customer service at RS Scott Jayes judged the award, and commended the business for listening to customer feedback and making changes accordingly, challenging their own approach.
The Bernie Howell trophy, for the best display stand, was awarded to Teatime Aromas from Corby Business School for their interactive display and branding – for which they carried out market research on factors including pricing.
Their product is a unique fragrance using essential and base oils and includes exclusive, luxury and basic ranges such as champagne, flowerbomb and citrus fizz.
Their company is already in profit, has won three awards and is through to the area final on March 18.
Mr Jayes said: “The event was extremely busy and a huge success and I’d like to thank all the businesses for their hard work and efforts.
“We think the Young Enterprise programme is a fantastic initiative and we even had someone from one of last year’s teams that has since gone on to be employed at RS.”