Mentoring scheme helps students win Young Enterprise Awards

Pupils from Larkmead School in Abingdon are celebrating after winning the Sustainability in Oxfordshire award and finishing as runners-up for the South and Vale Area Final Oxfordshire’s Young Enterprise Programme.

Young Enterprise group Giftzu at School - whole team of students with their awards
Giftzu at School – whole team of students with their awards

Young Enterprise Mentoring Scheme

The mixed ability school group won an award for starting their own new business in the scheme and they had lots of support from their two mentors – Nick King and Karen Tolley from South and Vale Business Support at Vale of White Horse District Council.  One of the students, Rosie Truby, won the Personal Journey Award for Oxfordshire in recognition of how well she progressed during the course and how this helped drive the team to success.


Starting in October last year, Nick and Karen helped the group to form a business and to plan their tasks and finances.  The group came together and used their individual skills to produce, market and sell a sustainable alternative to single-use plastics.  They used social media and went to trade shows in the county to market their product – something that earned them some highly commended recognition for their customer service by the Young Enterprise judges.

The Business Idea

The students, who are all in Year 10, created ‘Giftzu’ – a company that produces and sells reusable food wraps, made from 100 per cent recycled cotton and covered in locally sourced beeswax.  The wraps are ingenious because they can be cleaned and keep food fresh by sealing themselves by using the heat from people’s hands. 

Young Enterprise group Giftzu stall and team - three of the team members and product stall
Giftzu stall and team – three of the team members and product stall

Nick, Principal Economic Development Lead, from the council said, “It’s been a very rewarding experience.  We’ve been really impressed with the students and delighted they’ve received these awards – they’re very well-deserved.  In such a short space of time, they’ve learnt a great deal about business and we’ve really seen their confidence and skills grow.” 


Cllr Bethia Thomas, Cabinet member for Economic Development and Regeneration, said, “This mentoring scheme is just one of the many ways we help to connect education and business as part of our innovation strategy.  The team’s idea to make beeswax wraps was excellent – they really tapped into the change of attitude towards our dependency on plastic.”


Year 10 pupil Rosie Truby said, “I really enjoyed being part of the Young Enterprise Team as it has helped me to gain a lot of confidence.  I am very proud to have won the personal journey award.”


Chris Harris, Headteacher at Larkmead School, said, “We are delighted by the team’s success especially as they are the youngest team we have ever fielded.  They have brought a great credit on themselves and the school and have accelerated their use of key employability skills, along the way.”