Enterprising East Londoners market big idea

A class of Year 9s from Lister Community School, Newham, has won £5,000 in a Dragon’s Den style competition to find the best idea for attracting young people into Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

The north of the Park opened on Monday, 29 July, including the new Unity Kitchen Café and the wonderful Tumbling Bay playground, with the full opening in spring 2014.

Ahead of the first part of the Park opening to the public, the London Legacy Development Corporation and Groundwork London challenged four local schools to come up with a business idea to encourage young people into the former Olympic site.

Lister Community School beat Haggerston School and Skinners’ Academy in Hackney, and Buxton School, Waltham Forest, to the top prize of £5,000 to invest in their idea. Creative Minds was selected as the winning idea and features a youth enterprise market, activities including an eating competition and dance competitions, a youth community festival and a permanent artwork in the form of a statement wall where people can leave a fingerprint – and a permanent mark on their new Park.

Each of the four schools partnered with a business mentor to put together their pitch. The partnerships were Skinners’ Academy with CBS Outdoor, Haggerston School with Freshfields Brukhaus Deringer, Buxton School with Barclays and winning school Lister Community School with Crossrail.

The four groups faced a panel of four judges including Rachel Latham, former Paralympic swimmer and Channel 4 television reporter, Stevie Spring, Chairman of BBC’s Children In Need, Andy Larholt, Founding Partner of Montash recruitment agency and Jonathan Dutton, Executive Director of Finance and Corporate Services, London Legacy Development Corporation.

Lister Community School also won the People’s Choice Award, voted for by those attending the Awards evening on Thursday 18 July at Freshfields Brukhaus Deringer’s offices.

Judge Stevie Spring, Chairman of BBC’s Children In Need said:

“We have had the hardest job on the planet. The four groups have blown us away with all of their hard work. The Lister presentation was a really clever idea, start small and build big. The judges liked the core of the creative minds project, engaging the community in an opportunity to share creative ideas for young people and enabling young people to get jobs.

“Special congratulations must go to the teachers, mentors and schools involved in this as well as Groundwork London and the London Legacy Development Corporation.”

Ben Coles, Director, Communities and Local Partnerships, Groundwork London said:

“Groundwork is delighted with the success of the Enterprising East project and with the final event where the young people pitched their great ideas to the panel of judges. We know that when you provide opportunities like this for young people that great things can happen. 

“We’ve really enjoyed helping to shape the exciting journey the young people have been on through this project, and the skills and confidence they have picked up along the way. Thanks go to everyone involved, the young people, business mentors and judges – all of whom have made Enterprising East a success.”

Jonathan Dutton, Executive Director of Finance and Corporate Services, London Legacy Development Corporation said:

“Each of the schools presented creative, well thought out ideas to develop events and attractions that would appeal to local people. Both the students and the businesses taking part put lots of time and effort into their pitches and any one of the ideas could have been a real draw for the Park. But in the end the judges’ decision was unanimous, the youth market brings the best of the local area into the Park and we were convinced that the local community would follow. My favourite aspect of the youth market idea was the statement wall which enables people living close to the Park to leave a very individual mark on this great new community facility.”

Haggerston School and Freshfields Brukhaus Deringer came up with the idea of a Hall of Fame fashion show and concert whilst the Buxton School and Barclays partnership pitched a new youth club and annual festival. 

Skinners’ Academy, supported by CBS Outdoor, came up with a GPS-based treasure hunt around the Park, in which people would be able to collect tokens they could spend on the Park.

Lister Community School and Crossrail will now work with the London Legacy Development Corporation to turn their winning idea into a workable proposition using the £5,250 prize money.