Three Cornish schools are taking part in this year’s Young Enterprise Company Programme for this first time, thanks to a grant from the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company.

Pupils from Mounts Bay Academy, St Ives School and Redruth School are now battling against 14 other teams to become the best young business brains in Cornwall.

The £1,500 grant from the Steamship Company’s Community Fund has enabled the schools to participate in the competition for the first time, plus Humphry Davy School, which has taken part before.

Sam Wardman, Young Enterprise Manager in Cornwall, said: “We are absolutely delighted that the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company has been able to support a number of schools in West Cornwall this year. It is shaping up to be a great programme this year with 17 teams now registered from schools and colleges across the whole of Cornwall.

“Young Enterprise is supported nationally and locally by businesses, individuals, trusts and foundations. Without their support we wouldn’t be able to offer our wealth of finance and enterprise education programmes and resources, which are either subsidised or free.

“The Company programme is heavily subsidised by national fundraising to make it affordable for schools. However, Young Enterprise also relies on the generosity of local funding partners to help schools who cannot afford to take part to do so, and ensure we can reach those students who would benefit the most from our programmes.”

Company is aimed at young people aged 15-19 and runs throughout one academic year, enabling participants to find out what it’s really like to set up and run a business. Young people make all the decisions about their company, from deciding on the company name and product to creating a business plan, managing the company finances and selling to the public at trade fairs.

All this takes place with the support of a volunteer Business Adviser who brings a wealth of business knowledge and expertise. Teams can track their progress using self-assessment tools and even compete against other schools in local, regional and a national final.

Throughout the UK, over 19,000 young entrepreneurs take part in the prestigious Young Enterprise awards annually. Cornwall’s reigning winners – Seaweed Gardeners from Truro School – made it all the way to the UK finals, finishing in the top two of all Year 10 teams entered.

Terry Ward, Chairman of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company’s Community Fund, said: “The Young Enterprise Company Programme provides young people with an essential insight into the complexities and potential pitfalls of growing your initial idea into a successful and sustainable business.

“Having a unique and marketable idea is often the easy part, the difficult part is managing to get your idea out there, into the marketplace.

“The Isles of Scilly Steamship Company, through its Community Fund, is delighted to be involved with this initiative and would like to offer our best wishes to all the schools involved in this year’s programme.”