Sixth Form Millfield BTEC Business and Entrepreneurship students Ailbe Bartlett and Louis Chapman have made it through to the semi-finals of the Peter Jones Foundation National Entrepreneur of the Year competition with their eco-friendly sustainable business ideas.
Seventeen-year-old Ailbe Bartlett from Ilminster created CogNativeBikes, a second-hand servicing and repair business that gives retro bikes a new life. Using social media ‘up-cycling’ videos as the foundation for his marketing, Ailbe plans to sell his updated bikes on eBay and Facebook Marketplace.
Inspired by his love of competitive cycling, Ailbe says, “I understand that marginal gains on a road bike make the world of difference, plus, I find that there is nothing more frustrating than when a bike doesn’t run smoothly and efficiently. Therefore, having these bikes running as efficiently as possible will be my main aim. When I replace any parts, my intension is to keep as much of the original style as possible and keep some of the patina wear and tear for the true vintage style.”
Eighteen-year-old Louis Chapman from Radstock has set up a vintage clothing enterprise called UrbanStreetz which involves buying vintage clothing in bulk and selling it on e-commerce platforms. Louis has been recognised as being a UK verified top seller on one platform, achieving over 2,000 sales and earning over £10,000. Louis hopes to grow his business after leaving school and his goal is to build a fully functioning website for his brand.
Louis says, “I’m a real advocate for sustainability and enjoy the challenge of sourcing clothing and accessories. Running my full-time business alongside schoolwork, especially being a boarder, has been extremely challenging for me, however it has taught me about managing my time effectively and overcoming various challenges.”
The Peter Jones Enterprise Academy, run by the Peter Jones Foundation, is a nationwide network of colleges that deliver specialist courses in enterprise and entrepreneurship. Students are encouraged to set up their own businesses, from which they gain real-life experience of running their very own company.
The popular BTEC course, which is now in its fourth year at Millfield, provides an innovative environment where passionate pupils bring their business theory to life by learning business skills through numerous excursions, guest talks, challenges and workshops. The Department at Millfield is made up of 14 teachers, from a mix of commercial backgrounds, providing a dynamic, interactive learning environment with varied teaching and learning strategies.
Millfield students have had a number of recent successes on the programme, with Enterprising Sixth Form students Matt and Oscar currently in the top three of the national Peter Jones 'Tycoon' Competition with their innovative street food business 'Aroy Noodles', and BTEC students Archie, Fleur and Aggie who recently won the programme’s Flash Challenge competition for redesigning Millfield’s Business Block using the computer game, Minecraft. In 2018, three Millfield BTEC Enterprise and Entrepreneurship pupils met Reggae Reggae sauce creator, Levi Roots, after winning a national Peter Jones Academy award for their ‘Developing a Product Concept’ challenge.
The semi-final will take place via Microsoft Teams on 11 June with a judging panel of entrepreneurs and Peter Jones Enterprises Academy alumni.