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Gateley plc challenge students in Birmingham to open their own business

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International law firm Gateley plc asked Year 10 students from Lyndon School and Tile Cross Academy to design and pitch a new idea for a pet grooming business in a bid to help them develop their business planning and essential employability skills.

Five trainee solicitors took part to coach the students through their ideas throughout the day, leading them through a series of fun and interactive activities designed to spark imagination and creativity.

A series of short workshops on idea generation, creating a business case, marketing and designing a pitch to allow students sufficient preparation on their concepts. A vital part of this challenge also rested on the expertise of the Gateley plc volunteers and their knowledge of the legal requirements for setting up a business; students needed to identify ways of protecting their business and brand through copyright, trademarks, the Discrimination Act and Health & Safety at Work Act.

With the support of their Gateley coaches, student teams were then asked to pitch their business idea to a panel of judges. The panel consisted of senior partners and directors from Gateley Plc, who all commented on how impressed they were with the standard of presentations by all of the teams.

The winning concept eventually chosen by the judges was a Harry Potter-themed dog grooming business called Dogwarts: School of Woofcraft and Pawzadry!

Alex Weatherstone, Project Coordinator for Ahead Partnership, said: "Feedback from the students and teachers was extremely positive; students commented on how much they enjoyed working as a team and how helpful their coaches were throughout the whole day. 72% of the students involved said the challenge really had an impact on their confidence and 83% said they are now much more aware of the different types of job out there and the skills they need to do them.

"Teachers also commented on how impressed they were at the level of engagement and enjoyment from their students. Lots of the students had really come out of their shells throughout the day, building solid confidence, leadership and communication skills for the future."

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