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Business students at Nescot are taking part in a nationwide enterprise competition.

Students on the second year of the Level 3 qualification have set up their own real-life companies as part of the Tycoon contest, run by entrepreneur Peter Jones.

Every team writes a business plan and bids for a start-up loan, and then they have six weeks to make as much profit as possible, competing against students across the UK.

The groups at Nescot at selling products ranging from mobile phone cases to candles, and they will donate their profits to charities including Cancer Research UK and YoungMinds.

“The students really enjoy this project, and they get a lot out of it,” said Jane Purkiss, Curriculum and Standards Coordinator for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship (Business).

“It gives them the opportunity to put all their skills and knowledge into practice on a real-life business while they still have the support and mentoring from our expert staff.”

The students have split into small teams for the task, with every person assigned a specific role, from finance to marketing.

The teams each had to come up with an idea and put together a proposal, including details of start-up costs, pricing and market research, in order to apply for a loan.

The funding is a goodwill loan, which is only paid back if the company breaks even or makes a profit. Each team then nominated a charity to receive any profit they make.

At the end of the project, Peter Jones judges the businesses based on profit, as well as a range of considerations including the students’ teamwork, leadership, resilience and problem-solving.

Malachi, a second-year student who took on the role of Director of Production for his team, said his team had decided to sell cases for phones and headphones for their business.

“We’ve gone for a strategy of low cost and high volume,” he said. “We’re confident on our market research and our pricing strategy, so I think we’ll do well.

“I’m definitely enjoying the project – it has been hard at times, but it’s good to be running an actual business and really understanding things like profit and loss and forecasting, which I never understood before I started my course.”

Nescot offers Business qualifications at Level 1.5, Level 2 and Level 3, as well as apprenticeships and university-level study. You can read more on our website.