LevelUp goes 'back to school' with Skinners' Academy

Nick Rowlands

Recently, Leon and I were lucky enough to escape the office for a day and visit the business students of Skinners’ Academy in Hackney. They were learning about enterprise and starting a new business, so we decided to swap cups of tea for school dinners and tell them all about our experience of starting LevelUp.

Getting inspired

Working with Business teacher Miss Kurtuldu, we planned a day of activities, specially designed to engage with the class and get them excited about entrepreneurship. We started by teaching them about the experience of setting up our software development company LevelUp and together, we identified key ingredients for starting a successful business. Before long the classroom was buzzing and we had a great time exchanging thoughts and ideas with the group, before setting them a dynamic business challenge…

Budding entrepreneurs

Our challenge was a game of ‘Dragons’ Den’ role-play (learning should be fun right?). The class was divided into teams and each was given a business idea to develop. Using the skills they’d learnt during our presentation, each group worked on a business pitch, to be presented back to us, the “Dragons”. The students were excited by the opportunity to get creative with the brief and practice real business skills with their peers. Although they didn’t know it yet, the “investment” they were pitching for, was actually a lot more real than the game…

 Leon listening to kids talk about their ideas

Into the den…

One by one, the teams entered “the den” and presented their business pitch. Each group did a fantastic job and we were blown away by their enthusiasm and professional approach. It was a tough one to call but eventually we picked a winning team and revealed the prize of a £500 donation from LevelUp to the Academy. The winning team won the right to choose how to spend the money, on a reward trip for the whole class to enjoy. One of our victorious year 9 students, Chinyere Ikey described the session as “a great opportunity” and told us how happy she and her team were to win the challenge.

We had great fun going back to school for the day and meeting such an inspiring group of future entrepreneurs. It’s so important for young people to get this type of hands-on experience and we really enjoyed watching them rise to the challenges we’d set. The experience of collaborating with Miss Kurtuldu and the Academy was absolutely fantastic and we’re pleased to report that their school dinners aren’t bad either!

“This was an inspiring event for our students. It’s vital that young people are given the opportunity to connect with real businesses, as it enables them to enhance their knowledge and understanding of the business world.”

Miss Kurtuldu, Skinners’ Academy Business Department

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