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Student companies set out their wares
Buy this photo » Doris He, 16, Zoe Ho, 17, and Jessie Lam, 17, of Rye St Antony School
TEENAGERS are beating the recession by starting their own businesses.
Schoolchildren from across Oxfordshire set up stall in Templars Square shopping centre in Cowley on Saturday.
Shoppers had a chance to buy hi-tech cookery books, handmade chalk boards and imported Kenyan pyjamas.
Oxford High School student Isabel Yue, 17, is finance director at Ink, which has produced an interactive children’s cookery book. Each recipe has a QR code that links to a YouTube clip of a child making each recipe when scanned with a mobile phone.
Miss Yue said: “A lot of the meals are really healthy, and this is proper food. Hopefully it will help get children interested in food.”
The company created the book in 10 days, writing all the recipes and filming and uploading the videos themselves. Ink is currently is discussions about teaming up with a supermarket to sell the children’s cook book and the follow-up student cookbook.
Lucy Davies, 14, from Abingdon, helped set up Chez Moi.
The company sells handmade heart-shaped chalk boards and refurbished school desks bought from their school, St Helen and St Katharine in Abingdon.
She said: “I think it’s really good fun and a new experience and we are learning a lot of new skills. It’s not just about the money, it’s about doing something outside of school.”
Each business is hoping to win this year’s international Young Enterprise (YE) competition.
Out of 20 companies that were started in Oxfordshire last September, 17 had their first public exhibition on Saturday.
Two businesses were stymied when their suppliers fell through.
Another team is running a babysitting business, and chose not to have a stall.
A secret shopper from the YE competition judged each business on its product and customer service. If the companies make it through county finals, they stand a chance of getting into the European final.
In 2011, board game maker Gibsons was so impressed with the Cosmic game produced by the Oxford High School team that it now manufactures it.
YE Oxfordshire manager Susan Ledgard-Hoile said: “Youth unemployment is a real buzz word at the moment. One fifth of all 16 to 24-year-olds are currently unemployed. This competition can show teenagers that they can run their own business.”
All the businesses register with Companies House, and pay corporation tax and VAT. They can sell up to 500 shares at £1 each.
The next YE trade fair will be at the Castle Quay shopping centre in Banbury on February 23.