When we started Designated PA, we agreed that one of our core principles would be to give back to the community as we enjoy the success of our business.

From day one we were looking for an partner with who would give us that opportunity and we found it last year in the Peter Jones Foundation. We support the foundation financially but we also provide a PA to support their, surprisingly small team, to achieve great things. Our Designated PA Sophie Brown has been helping the team to deliver events such as the Tycoon in Schools final held recently at Buckingham Palace.

What is Tycoon in schools

Tycoon in Schools is a free national enterprise competition, which aims to encourage the UK’s young budding entrepreneurs to get involved in business by giving them a start-up loan of between £50 and £1000 to run a business whilst at school or college.

Launched in 2012 by Peter Jones CBE and supported by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and referenced in Lord Young’s ‘Enterprise For All’ review, Tycoon in Schools was developed as a direct response to repeated calls for a national enterprise challenge in schools. The competition allows students to start and run a business whilst at school or college, thereby allowing them to gain valuable hands-on experience of what is involved with running a business.

Tycoon in school’s final

The final itself saw the top eight carefully selected finalists, meet at Buckingham Palace, hosted by HRH The Duke of York KG, Patron of the Peter Jones Foundation.

A total of 1300 business has been started involving 6500 children aged from 5 to 19 years of age.

The awards were presented by the host, HRH The Duke of York and Peter Jones CBE, to the eight finalists who were later hand to present their businesses to the wider audience.

Inspiring trends

I spent some time talking to each of the finalists to discover what their businesses had been set up to achieve and how much profit they had made. I was swept away by the enthusiasm of the participants and the achievements they had made. The products created ranged from hairbands for gymnasts through to bath bombs and a service leasing refurbished laptops to students who did not have access to a family PC.

Whilst the variety of the businesses themselves was vast there were two key trends that struck me.

I was delighted to see that at least half of the participants were female and I believe this gives us great hope for future. I sincerely hope these girls and young women maintain their entrepreneurial spirit and that we see a much greater proportion of successful women on UK company boards thus in the future.

What was more surprising to me was the social conscience of these budding entrepreneurs. Many of the teams had chosen to bestow their profits to charities that were close to their hearts. One school had used their profits to create a memorial garden for a former pupil whilst others had donated their profits to international charities. The desire of the participants to share their success and give back to the community gives us all great hope for the future.

How this supports our B Corp registration

B Corp is to business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee.

Success in business is traditionally measured in financial terms alone, but there is a growing trend by business leaders, to measure their success in other ways. And that is what the B Corp movement supports. B Corps are for-profit companies certified by the non-profit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.

Today, there is a growing community of more than 1,600 Certified B Corps from 42 countries and over 120 industries working together toward 1 unifying goal: to redefine success in business.

Designated PA is on it’s way to be one of these certified companies and I am sure that in time many of the Tycoons in Schools will follow suit.