Cramlington students beat 900 schools in business competition


Four Year 10 students from Cramlington Learning Village have beaten teams from 900 schools to win a coveted national business competition.

Oliver Davenport, Shay Greer, Daniel Hordon and Daniel Rahman had already won the North East final of the Coca Cola Enterprises Real Business Challenge.

Now – after competing against the other regional winners in the grand final in London – they have become national champions.

“It was a bit of a shock,” said 15-year-old Daniel Hordon, who is the only one of the four to study business. “We didn’t expect to win either time.”

The Real Business Challenge was launched in 2003. Nearly 90,000 students now take part every year. This was the third time a team from Cramlington Learning Village has reached the final and the second time it has won.

Eleven teams – which, apart from Cramlington, had eight or nine members – were set the task of designing a new and business viable product made from re-cycled plastic or aluminium. They had to work out the costings and profits, plan a marketing campaign and make a presentation in front of four judges -including the managing director of Coca-Cola UK.

Inspired by their own recent experiences of flooding, the Cramlington students’ product was a plastic bag with a valve, which would be filled with water and used instead of a sand bag.

Fifteen-year-old Daniel Rahman said: “Where I live water has come off the fields and flooded our garage three times.” Oliver, who is 14, said: “The underpasses near the school have been blocked by floodwater. I spoke to somebody from the council who says all he does is hand out sand bags.”

Their product would last a lifetime, be easier to store than a sand bag and could be filled with the floodwater itself.

Cramlington Learning Village business studies teacher Craig Baxter, who said: “The judges said it would solve a real issue. Like many great products, it seems so simple.”

Coca-Cola Enterprises vending account manager Phil Green, who mentored the team at the regional and national finals, said: “Their positivity and enthusiasm made my role very easy. They presented their ideas in a clear, professional and good humoured way.

“If any of these students choose to pursue a career in business – and continue to develop these skills that helped them win – I have no doubt that they would be successful.”

Their road to success began at the Cramlington Learning Village’s Well Being day in December where they faced their first business challenge. They were then chosen to represent the school in last month’s regional final at The Stadium of Light where they had to create a campaign to persuade people to stop dropping litter.

The team’s victory in the grand final came in spite of an interrupted sleep when they had to leave their hotel in the middle of the night because of a fire alarm. Their trip to London also involved a tour and reception at the Houses of Parliament – where they had to present their anti-litter campaign to MPs – and a visit to the theatre to see the Lion King.

“They are a very modest group who were genuinely surprised to win. They were a real credit to themselves, their year group and the school – and not just because they won. Passengers on the train said what a fantastic set of lads they were,” said Craig.

Gina Solimeno, the education programme manager for Coca-Cola Enterprises, said: “Congratulations to Cramlington Learning Village on being crowned our 2015/16 Real Business Challenge champions. The RBC continues to go from strength to strength, and the level of creativity and business nous we have seen from this all of this year’s competitors has been fantastic.”

As well as winning a 3D printer for their school, the team’s anti-litter campaign will feature in posters displayed at bus stops near Cramlington Learning Village.