A GROUP of teenage entrepreneurs have cooked up a winning formula after triumphing at a special awards ceremony, writes Matt Oliver.

Ink, a group of 12 Year 12 students from Oxford High School, took the top prize at the county finals of the Young Enterprise competition after judges voted their interactive children’s cookbook a winner.

The book, Read, Watch, Cook, contains QR codes that can be scanned with a mobile telephone or tablet and are linked to a video demonstration.

Managing director Caroline Harper-Donnelly, 17, said: “Business is not as simple as you think it's going to be when you go into it. Our biggest problem was with printing, but we overcame that and learnt a valuable life lesson – don’t take everything at face value.

“We’ve had a really good experience and got a lot out of it. It’s great to see our work pay off.”

Ink also picked up the Oxford Mail Media Award for the best use of publicity after their story was featured in the newspaper in January along with the Richardsons Award for Best Financial Management and the Unipart Automotive Award for the Best Company Report.

The business has produced 450 books to date and they have gone on sale in major retailers including Blackwell’s and WH Smith.

Oxford High Young Enterprise link teacher Mike Gallacher said: “They have been a brilliant group and really innovative with a tremendous product. We are incredibly proud of them.”

Judith Carlisle, head of Oxford High, added: “The creativity involved in the product was phenomenal and the book really has momentum.”

Ink will now go on to compete in the regional finals of Young Enterprise on June 20. If they win that then they will go on to the national finals at the end of June.

Ink was one of eight student companies competing in the finals held at the Said Business School, Oxford.

Each has been running throughout the course of the academic year with the aim of giving students direct experience of the business world and to help shape their future careers.

A total of 31 companies took part in this year’s competition involving 476 students across the county.

Young Enterprise area manager Sarah Middleton said: “Young Enterprise is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and these companies are shining examples of what can be achieved.”


The roll of honour:

  • The Cisco Creative Award: Press Play, Our Lady’s Abingdon
  • JSP Cup for Manufacturing: Chez Moi, The School of St Helen and St Katharine, Abingdon
  • The Oxford Mail Media Award: Ink, Oxford High School
  • The Institute of Directors Award for the Best Business Plan: Press Play, Our Lady’s, Abingdon
  • Best Display Stand: Kaleidoscope, Oxford High School
  • The Richardson’s Award for Best Financial Management: Ink, Oxford High School
  • Carter Jonas Award for Best Presentation: Kaleidoscope, Oxford High School
  • The Oxford Computer Consultants Award for the Best Use of Online Media: Wrong Way, The School of St Helen and St Katharine
  • Harwell Innovation Centre Award for Marketing and Market Research: Fidelius, The School of St Helen and St Katharine, Abingdon
  • Unipart Automotive Award for the Best Company Report: Ink, Oxford High School
  • Oxford Instruments Award for Innovation: Fidelius, The School of St Helen and St Katharine, Abingdon
  • Young Enterprise Oxfordshire Company of the Year: Ink, Oxford High School