THE next generation of businessmen and women gathered last night for the Wiltshire Young Enterprise Awards.

The event, which took place at the Blunsdon House Hotel, saw school children who have been running their own business recognised for their efforts.

The Young Enterprise Scheme, which has been running for more than 60 years, gives youngsters, the opportunity to set up and run their own company for an academic year.

Andrew Martin, the development manager for Young Enterprise in Wiltshire, said: “We’ve been blown away by the enthusiasm and commitment from the entrants this year.

“The students do everything for themselves.

“They decide on the product, they give themselves specific roles within their company and they even sell shares in their business.”

“We offer support and advice but all the work is theirs. There have been a wide range of products developed by the schools, from jewellery to T-shirts.”

The teams, which are aged between 14 and 19, are free to keep any money they make once they have paid off the shareholders.

Last night’s awards ceremony was a recognition of the best teams in the county. Students from Commonweal School, St Joseph’s Catholic College and Kingsdown School all made it through to the final. To qualify each team had to go through a Dragons’ Den-style interview from business people. The best business on the night made it through to the South West final.

As well as business skills, Andrew believes the competition helps to develop many attributes to help the children in later life.

He said: “It’s not really about how much money they make. It’s about teaching them a variety of other skills such as teamwork, communication and interpersonal skills. Students also learn the importance of hard work.

The Young Enterprise scheme relies on volunteers to operate and organisers are always looking for people to get involved.

“It is a fantastic programme that gives students the chance to learn so many skills that help them in life,” said Andrew.

“We need people who feel they have something to offer to give up an hour of their week going into school’s helping students with their business.”

If you feel you can help with next year’s programme, which starts in September, then email