I recently had the pleasure of being invited to an event held by The University of Northampton to help facilitate a workshop held for a group of over 120 teenagers. The day was organised by Mike SKidmore, the great team at Oddsocks Theatre Company and special Guest Rob Harris (Lead Guitarist) from Jamiroquai, which was a rare treat for me being a guitarist myself. The day was aimed at working with young people, inspire their business ambitions and encourage the students to look further than the obvious choices they might believe they face. This was then used;

  • To show them that they all have the ability to have ideas and express them.
  • To introduce them to new ways of thinking about business and opportunities.
  • through the theme of Social Enterprise and Music.

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Main Speaker Mike doing his stand up routine!

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Guitarist Rob Harris showing us how to play the guitar.

The Theme for the workshop was: “Could you run your own business and help others?” targeting specific social problems such as Teenage Pregnancy, Binge Drinking and Truancy. The kids were split into groups of 10 and had to come up with a business idea, presentation, marketing strategy and brief financial plan with limited resources and time. My job along with the 10-15 other facilitators was to help organise the group and guide them through the exercise without actually giving them any answers, aside from gentle prompts and the odd key bit of info. They were also treated to some exercises in presentation from OddSocks Theatre company, a solo performance and Interview from Rob Harris and an engaging introduction by Speaker Mike Skidmore.

Highlights of the day

  1. Watching young kids unashamedly presenting their business ideas without question or fear in front of around 150 people.
  2. Chatting about guitars with Rob Harris.
  3. Eating my weight in Pizza which was offered for lunch.
  4. Having a renewed faith in our next generation of adults.

Quote of the day

A groups presenter when asked about the companies financial plans

“Ah a question I’ve been waiting for, let me give you some light economic relief”

So what did I learn?

  1. Young school kids are incredibly creative, fun and talented. Many don’t know this and events like these can really make a difference to the choices they make and the path they choose in their careers.
  2. Great, inspiring ideas for Business and Products can come out of a small amount of time if the right tools and direction are given.
  3. Rob Harris is a bloody good guitarist.
  4. My iPhone takes rubbish pictures (see above!!)
  5. Mike Skidmore is actually quite funny.
  6. The OddSocks theatre company are fun and entertaining.

I’m off to write my book of moans!!…

***UPDATE*** The following video created by Wonkana Productions has just been released showcasing the day in more detail.

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