YOUNG entrepreneurs were given the chance to take the helm of their own venture for a week.
As part of an Enterprise and Money Skills Week, 17 teenagers from Chester-le-Street split into teams and chose a product to sell at the town’s market,
The project aimed to give the 16 to 18-year-olds who may be uncertain about the future confidence and new skills.
After a week of workshops covering planning, budgeting and marketing, the groups made £391 from selling their products – a profit they were allowed to keep.
The goods the groups chose all had ethical inspirations, including handbags made by women in Italian prisons, CDs of songs performed by persecuted African choirs and “seedboms” made from recycled egg boxes and used to plant seeds.
Landlord Cestria Community Housing, Durham County Council’s One Point youth service and the financial education charity MyBnk organised the event, funded by North East Procurement.
Cestria’s financial inclusion manager Suzanne Jobson, who coordinated the project, said: “The aim of the week was to help local young people gain some key workplace skills and help them make more informed decisions about what they want to do as a future career.
“I was really impressed with how well the groups did – they all completely sold out of their products on the last day, which was fantastic, and have said that they feel it has been a really valuable experience.”
All of the young people who took part have been guaranteed an interview for up-coming apprenticeships at Cestria Community Housing.
Chris Peverall, who is the manager of the One Point Chester-le-Street hub, said: “The positive attitude from the young people during the project was a delight and working with Cestria has proved to be a very successful partnership.
“As it’s such a tough economic climate we are working hard to work with partners to provide courses such as this and we want to do our best to support our young people.
Businesses CDC Enterprise Agency, IPB Communications, Five Lamps, Keepmoat and Springs Roofing shared their knowledge with the group during the sessions.