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29.03.06
Fire Band students ignite business interest

Roy Knight (left), Michael Clark (top) and Andrew Rowe (bottom)Six students from Bodmin Community College have come up with a new and innovative idea to produce a wrist bracelet smoke alarm. Targeted at people with hearing difficulties, the bracelet detects the signal from a smoke alarm and vibrates to warn the user. The young entrepreneurs have set up the business to design, create and market their Fire Band as part of an exciting new 'Business Adventure' competition organised by Business Link and Connexions and delivered by the theatrical communications company CragRats. On 27th March 2006, the Eden Project was the venue for a high profile 'Dragons Den' style event when the Bodmin pupils presented their business proposals to a panel of judges, in a head-to-head against nine other schools from across the region.

Head of Marketing at Business Link, Ian Gent explains, "Business Adventure aims to broaden awareness of the opportunities that are available to young people and the business disciplines required in setting up and running their own enterprises. Initially, each school asked teams of pupils to develop their own enterprising ideas for a charity, a voluntary exercise, a business or an environmental project. The winning team won £250 to help them develop their ideas into a full blown operation."

The Bodmin entrepreneurs are currently working on the design and are investigating the production of the unit with a local hi-tech business, which has offered support and potential commercial development interest. Circuit designs have been completed, the market for the Fire Band is under investigation and the next step is to contact potential commercial vendors of the item to discuss its feasibility.

Teacher, Pete Smith, who has been helping the group co-ordinate their efforts, commented, "After a slow start they now have a product and know that it works and they are now looking at possibilities of developing it further. They are not making it themselves, but are hoping to get companies to manufacture it for them under license. The students have a large working model which they know works. The Business Adventure project has improved their team working and communication skills, which will be beneficial when they make their presentation. The confidence of the team has improved vastly from working with adults other than teachers and they now have a much better grasp of the entrepreneurial process."

John Davey, director of partnerships at Connexions, the careers and advice service for young people aged 13 to 19 agrees, "It's a fantastic opportunity for these young people to have real hands on experience of working as a team and the different functions required to run a successful business – in a real business environment."

The winners of the 'Dragons Den' final were the team from Lipson Community College, Plymouth.

For further information please contact press officer Carolyn Daw on 01566 771863 or email: cdaw@marketing-pr.co.uk.

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in Business Link through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF).

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Editor's notes:

Business Link provides a free information and enquiry service via an information gateway on the web www.bldc.co.uk and via the telephone on 0845 600 9966 to all businesses and those considering starting a business. Additionally it provides impartial business advice and support through a network of partner organisations, which it co-ordinates, and a register of independent business practitioners. Business Link for Devon and Cornwall delivers the national Business Link service to the region under contract from the South West RDA.

The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) exists to make England better skilled and more competitive. It is responsible for planning and funding high-quality vocational education and training for everyone. It has a single goal: to improve the skills of England's young people and adults to world-class standards. Its vision is that by 2010, young people and adults in England have the knowledge and skills matching the best in the world and are part of a truly competitive workforce. Established in 2001 the LSC works nationally, regionally and locally from a network of offices across the country.

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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