A team from Ballakermeen High School won the Junior Achievement 2014 Boston Group Company of the Year award.
Simple Minds - Rio Allison, Nick Collins, Lewis Daly, Jasmine Marsh and Andrew O’Neill - won the award for their product, a sealable polythene glove for cleaning up after dogs, which they promoted with the strap line: ‘Tender glove and care for your dog and the environment.’
Held at the Palace Hotel, Douglas, the awards ceremony, supported by the Boston Charitable Foundation, gathered together the 16 student teams, their teachers and volunteer business mentors at an event that marked the culmination of the fledgling entrepreneurs’ journey during which they had formed a company then devised and delivered a commercially viable product, a process of some six months.
As Junior Achievement’s chief executive Sue Cook said in her opening remarks: ‘How many 16 to 17-year-olds can say they ran their own business?’
The occasion also provided Sue the opportunity to pay tribute to Jim Dale, who recently stepped down as chairman of Junior Achievement, a man she described as ‘incredible’ and her ‘rock’.
Mr Dale is now patron of Junior Achievement.
Mr Dale is succeeded by the Boston Group’s chief executive officer Greg Ellison who, before presenting the Company of the Year award, also praised his predecessor for his ‘bold actions’ and ‘vision’ in recruiting Sue Cook who has gone on to transform Junior Achievement Isle of Man which has now held JA-YE model nation status for three years in succession.
With the support of some 400 volunteers the charity is now reaching around 5,000 students in full-time education annually in the Isle of Man.
Mr Ellison said that such was the quality of entries the judging panel had elected to award Company of the Year third, second and first place categories.
In third place, for devising ‘an excellent product’ was MIE from Ballakermeen High School.
The team – Sophie Cain, Alexandria Coward, Emily Lodge and Lauryn Mazzilli – had developed a children’s book that followed the adventures of a Manx bear and his cat.
Second place went to Dyenamic from Castle Rushen High School - Josh Caple, Jordanne Kennaugh, Caitlin Stanfield and Ciara Whelan– for their tie-dye hobby kits, a project that showed ‘great potential’ said Mr Ellison.
Presenting the Boston Group Junior Achievement Company of the Year award Mr Ellison said winners Simple Minds had shown consummate professionalism throughout the process, played to their individual strengths and delivered ‘a stand-out presentation’.
The team’s Andrew O’Neill said: ‘Devising this “glove not bag” product has been all about teamwork right from the start. Entering the company programme has been really hard work but a great experience we’d definitely recommend.’
Entertainment was by 15-year-old singer songwriter Mae Challis, winner of Junior Achievement’s talent contest The Next Big Thing 2014.
Simple Minds will now go on to represent the Isle of Man in the JA-YE European Student Company of the Year challenge in Tallinn, Estonia in July, when they will be competing against teams from 37 European countries.