County Durham manufacturing prowess inspires students

Posted on 6 Nov 2015 by Jonny Williamson

An acclaimed project turning schoolchildren’s creative flair into market-ready business ideas will draw inspiration from County Durham’s world-class manufacturing base to launch this year’s event.

Future Business Magnates (FBM) – run by Business Durham, the economic development company for County Durham – has worked with dozens of schools, pupils and businesses over the past decade to bring the world of commerce to life for youngsters.

More than 30 businesses, including Thorn Lighting; Dyer Engineering; Ebac; Hydram; Steelcraft; Atom Bank, and Durham University, are supporting this year’s competition, partnering the 20 school teams and judging the six challenges comprising the event.

house-of-durham-county-durham-infographicThe House of Durham infographic [right] commissioned by Business Durham, showing the host of everyday household products made locally, is the inspiration behind the theme for this year’s FBM competition.

Over the next eight months, pupils aged 12 and 13 will work on ideas with their business mentor to get their manufacturing-themed product ready for market, with a glittering prize ceremony awaiting the winners in July.

FBM and its sister FBM Plus project – aimed at post-16 learners in local colleges being supported to set up their own companies – were both launched this week.

Business Durham managing director, Simon Goon commented: “The world-class manufacturing base we have in County Durham is the perfect theme for this year’s Future Business Magnates programme.

“The feedback we get from pupils, teachers and business mentors taking part in this project is phenomenal – this is FBM’s 11th year and it keeps going from strength to strength.

“Its aim is to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs by engaging directly with business leaders who have a wealth of experience in starting and growing their own companies, and managing all the challenges that brings.”

FBM focuses on the skill sets demanded by the STEM subjects as the basis for pupils’ ideas.

Children will work on a series of six challenges, progressing their idea from the drawing board through workshops with their business mentor, to the finished concept, real or virtual.

Last year’s FBM winners Durham Johnston School will be taking part again this year.

Their ‘GlowFlo Eco Tap’ tap which glowed red when wasting too much water saw its young inventors crowned Future Business Magnates 2014 with their business mentor, Exposure Events.