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Young Toymakers Scoop Inverness Enterprise Awards

01/05/2010 A team of young Scottish entrepreneurs scooped several enterprise awards last Tuesday after setting up a firm making one of the best-known traditional toys - the wooden rocking horse.

The youngsters from Farr High School in Sutherland named their enterprise Off Our Rockers and their inspiration paid off at this year's Enterprise regional Innovation Awards, where they won the main award for Best Company, along with four others - the gongs for Best Stand at the Inverness Trade Fair, Best Market Research, Best Publicity and Best Report.

They came out on top of ten other teams, all of who made business presentations to selected judges at the Newton Hotel in Nairn. Rival companies had been manufacturing and selling ear muffs, decorated drinks glasses and gardening kits. Students of Charleston Academy walked away with the runners-up prize, for their business selling bouquets of chocolates - for which they also won the award for Innovation.

However, it was the budding toymakers of Farr that really grabbed judges imagination, with their slick business plan, coupled with an eye for detail when it came to making the iconic rocking horse for modern homes.

To get their company off the ground, the secondary school students obtained timber from a local businessman and spent two hours making each child's rocking horse - at one point having to fight their way throw heavy snow during the freezing UK winter last Christmas so they could get to the school and finish off those important orders for Christmas.

The young toymakers are now set to go forward to the national Scottish Innovation Awards, which take place this June in Glasgow. There, Off Our Rockers will face competition from 16 other young teams of entrepreneurs.

The Young Enterprise Scotland (Yes) company programme runs across the whole of the country and offers older school students the opportunity to devise and operate their own business - particularly the fields of design, manufacture and sales.

Yes Highland and Moray area board chairwoman Linda Thomas told the Aberdeen Press and Journal: "Over the years we have seen some fine examples of entrepreneurship and creativity, and this year is no different."

"Young people taking part in the programme gain a range of skills in the areas of finance, marketing and business administration, as well as team work, communication and interpersonal skills - valuable life skills which will be of real benefit whatever they decide to do in the future."

 


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