Aberdeenshire secondary schools have been given a taste for entrepreneurship as part of Macphie’s 10-week enterprise challenge.
Launched earlier this year, 12 pupils from Mackie, Mearns and Portlethen academies were challenged to develop a food product – using a Macphie bakery mix – and sell their wares, making sure they made a profit in the process.
Helping them on their way, the business ran masterclasses in finance, product development, marketing and production at their headquarters in Glenbervie before handing £20 to each group to invest in packaging, ingredients or promotional activity.
Last week marked the end of the challenge with pupils returning to the company’s board room to present to an interview panel of representatives from Macphie and Developing the Young Workforce – a government body aimed at bringing businesses together with the future workforce.
Each group explained how they used their investment, created and promoted their product before revealing their final sales figures.
The winning team, boasting a final total of nearly £70 was McKookies which made and sold iced chocolate chip cookies.
The project forms part of Macphie’s wider partnerships with Mearns Academy and Mackie Academy, aiming to unleash participants’ latent talents and foster essential entrepreneurial thinking and in this instance, help the pupils achieve a Prince’s Trust qualification.
Macphie’s CSR and Engagement Executive Louise Shankley said, “We’ve been so impressed at the commitment the pupils have put into this challenge.
“Some learned valuable lessons when the marshmallows they used in their first batch of cookies burnt leading them to tweak their recipe. Some honest feedback from parents also led them back to the drawing board.
“I was pleased to see the teams putting quality and hygiene as a priority – ditching products that didn’t work out right, rather than selling them and creating a rota to keep prep areas clean and tidy.
“Teamwork seemed to be an issue with some commenting they didn’t always get along – but hopefully this has taught them a life lesson or two if nothing else.”
Mackie Academy teacher Janet Duncan said, “We are delighted with the opportunities our young people have been given while taking part in this enterprise project.
“Pupils from all three schools have been able to come together to work cooperatively in small teams in a real business environment.
“They have learned about various aspects of enterprise and were able to develop their own business roles.
“We’re very grateful to the team at Macphie for making this possible.”