Young Enterprise Scotland was honoured to be invited along to the Business in Parliament 2018 event at Holyrood in October.
The session was designed to celebrate the hard work done within the business sector with a special focus on young entrepreneurs as part of the Year of Young People 2018.
We had been invited to bring two of our teams to represent what we do for young people and to show the practical application of their work, so we brought along our SIS Social Impact Award winners, Lite from Northfield Academy in Grampian and our Company of the Year 2018 Estrela, from Orkney.
Both teams had the opportunity to deliver their presentations in the debating chamber in front of many MSPs and delegates.
Lite produced a range of products to encourage awareness and conversation around personal struggles with mental health.
The team explained that;
Using apparel to get our message across seemed like the best way to resonate with our customers. We're working to make the invisible, visible.
Estrela followed suit, delivering their winning presentation and letting the audience know of their successes at both our Scottish final and the UK Company Programme final in London where they picked up the FedEx Access Award.
A hard act to follow, but Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon gave it her best shot.
If you are a representative example of Scotland's young people - our country is in safe hands.
She continued to praise the young people for their strong sense of optimism, enthusiasm and their values while demonstrating undoubtable potential and their achievement in this Year of Young People. A major theme of the day was the uncertainty within the job market of tomorrow, the First Minister encouraged our young entrepreneurs to be prepared to embrace innovation and change.
Lite and Estrela were joined for a Q&A session by the First Minister where they were asked about their inspirations and experiences through participating in the Company Programme.
When asked about their Orkney-inspired lamp, the Estrela team explained that they had worked collaboratively to come up with a slick idea for a product they knew people would love. The First Minister commented that it was a 'beautifully designed product'.
Lite were asked whether they had made a pre-emptive decision that their message was more important than the product, which they said was exactly how they planned their enterprise;
It would almost be rude not to focus on the message due to the platform we've been given and taking into account major stressors such as exams.
We ran workshops within the school and the feedback from S1 was amazing with students telling us that months after our sessions they still found the content useful.
We wanted to raise awareness of our cause rather than just what our products were. We gave our products away free of charge as a way of starting the conversation around these issues.
When asked whether they would be interested in starting a business, both teams gave a unanimous 'Yes' with Estrela telling the Chamber that they are in the process of re-starting their company.
Lite were asked about how they managed to begin opening conversations about such a sensitive subject, but with ease they managed to convey the importance of being able to consider yourself in situations as it's easier to talk about yourself before others.
Another question was pitched to both teams which highlighted the differences in how schools approach the topic of enterprise within the curriculum.
Estrela told how they were given designated time for the project but also worked outwith this which they felt helped them develop their ability to work on their company while balancing their subjects and time management.
Lite told of a slightly different experience whereby their company was an extracurricular activity and so they had to set aside time to work on the project. The students said that they would be keen to see it embedded in their curriculum as they feel that most schools do now have this.
Our Vision is for Scotland to be a place where all young people are given the opportunity to have a rewarding future in work and life - no matter where they start
Our Mission is to inspire & equip all young people to learn, develop and reach their full potential through enterprise.
In everything that we do, we will work with the following values: Integrity, Enthusiasm, Creativity & Collaboration.
Young Enterprise Scotland
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