Isle of Man student entrepreneurs voted ‘People’s Choice’ at JA European finals

| August 1, 2014 | 0 Comments
Simple Minds

Simple Minds, a team of five Year 12 students from Ballakermeen High School, have returned from the European finals of the Junior Achievement company programme held in Tallin, Estonia.

The team – Rio Allison, Nick Collins, Lewis Daly, Jasmine Marsh and Andrew O’Neill – developed ‘Need a Hand?’, a polyurethane self-sealing glove to pick up dog waste. Their product saw them win the 2014 Junior Achievement Boston Group Company of the Year award in March then go on to represent the Isle of Man at the JA-YE Europe Company of the Year competition in Estonia.

More than 38 student teams took part. 200 students were selected from an initial 250,000, the largest field of contestants in the competition’s 25-year history.  Simple Minds returned triumphant, winning the ‘People’s Choice Award’ as voted for on Facebook and Rio Allison was selected as one of only 15 students to receive a JA-YE Europe Alumni Leadership Award, given to standout individual competitors.

The winner of the overall competition was E14-Magma, a team of six students from Iceland who designed and produced a souvenir shot glass made from black clay and Icelandic lava. Their product is successfully being sold in retail outlets as well as duty free stores.  The winner’s trophy was presented by the Prime Minister of Estonia Taavi Rõivas, a former participant in the Junior Achievement company programme.

Junior Achievement Isle of Man chief executive Sue Cook said: ‘The Junior Achievement company programme is the best example of what young people can achieve if given the right environment and support to flourish. This is the top entrepreneurial programme for young people in Europe, recognised by employers and universities alike. And it’s thanks to our volunteers, supporters and sponsors that we’re able to offer this programme to students in the Isle of Man.

‘I’m extremely proud that our Manx team was more than able to hold their own when competing against the top teams in Europe. I’d also like to offer our sincere thanks to everyone who voted them the People’s Choice. I’m sure the people of the Isle of Man will join with all of us at Junior Achievement in congratulating Simple Minds. We’re enormously proud of them.’

Simple Minds from Ballakermeen High School were supported on the trip by volunteer business mentor Damon Warr of PwC, Ballakermeen High School’s key stage 5 head Ian Kay and Sue Cook and programme manager Joy Spence from Junior Achievement.

The Company of the Year programme, which challenges students to form and run a company with the support and advice of teachers and mentors drawn from the local business community, is sponsored by the Boston Charitable Foundation.

The next company programme will start in schools in September and Junior Achievement is looking for business mentors who can volunteer an hour a week during school time.

To find out more contact Joy Spence on 666266 or e-mail

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