We were delighted to be invited back to Marden Bridge Middle School for another instalment of our Enterprise Days – a 2-hour workshop designed to introduce young people to the world of business and creative sectors. Our TICE mentors Lee Casey (Enterprise) and Mark Pattinson (Graphic Design) led the way, firstly by introducing themselves and what the day would entail. With teamwork, communication, presenting and researching skills on the list of achievements to tick off, it was guaranteed to be a challenging but otherwise exciting session ahead…

Lee began with the question, “Who do you consider to be entrepreneurial?” – you would expect the typical answers, but it was exciting to see vloggers, sportsmen and artists mentioned too. But of course, we always think of the names in the spotlight. Lee mentioned that our friends, families and local business can be entrepreneurial too. A couple of examples included Dan Ellis, founder of Whitley Bay’s successful community cinema the Jam Jar Cinema and Lucy and Paul Hull from For Love of the North.

It was then time to test just how entrepreneurial the students were with a creative team building activity and it involved…wait for it…cup stacking. They were challenged to build a pyramid with 10 paper cups, string and a rubber band. They had strict instruction to not touch the cups or rubber band and were only allowed to hold the string. No pressure, right?

After 10 minutes of collapsing cups (and a few frustrated faces), all teams had done their best with the task and were asked to reflect more so on their ability as a team. Primarily, this gives students insight on how they organise themselves and how they can work collectively to a deadline.

Then it was time for a different flavour of creativity, specifically looking at graphic design. Within the realm of graphic design is the age of apps, and Mark briefly discussed the power of its use in entertainment, gaming and essential tools, to name a few. Mark looked particularly at Augmented Reality (AR), using the phenomenon of Pokemon GO as an example of how apps have evolved over the years. But that’s used for fun and entertainment…what about brands, organisations and services?

So, that was the brief. The teams were expected to identify a gap in the market and design an AR inspired app for brands or businesses. Throughout the task, they had to question what the app does, how it works and how it benefits the target market. Not only did they have to be creative, but they had to use their earlier experience of entrepreneurship to build an effective team and pitch their final idea in the most convincing way possible. Dragon’s Den style!

As expected, the quality of designs and ideas was incredibly impressive and to top off it, the teams were presenting their ideas with so much professionalism and enthusiasm. An example was Disney-inspired – the customer could visit a Disney store and choose an iconic character to walk alongside them on their phone screens. Another genius idea was an interactive guide in the nationwide store, Lush. They could visit the app, photograph the bath bomb in the shop and it would display ingredients and even fizz on the screen. It’s amazing how a couple of hours of creative inspiration can create something with so much potential.

Thank you, Marden Bridge Middle School, for an innovative, hard-working and exciting day. You never know, we could have inspired some young people to continue their exploration of entrepreneurship and graphic design!