THE winner of Thurrock’s Next Top Boss 2022 has been announced at a virtual awards ceremony this afternoon, Thursday 24 March.
Thurrock’s Next Top Boss, now in its twelfth year and run by the council’s Inspire Youth Hub, provides young people with the chance to work with local employers to come up with solutions to real life business challenge scenarios. This year’s scenario was to create a business plan for the Thameside Complex running it as a social venture.
Following a judging panel made up of local businesses scoring the ideas proposed by the teams from ten schools taking part in this year’s programme, Ortu Gable Hall’s team The Fruit Cycle was announced as the winner at the virtual awards ceremony. Their project The Fruit Cycle provided a solution to reducing food waste to make smoothies, using customer’s pedal power. Café furniture would be made from pallets helping to save 43.5 million trees per annum. The runner up was a team from Grays Convent called Cloud 9, which proposed the modification of existing spaces to bring more residents into Thameside Complex. They would provide an interactive museum experience, after school clubs, rental of the dance studio and theatre with professional photography packages and more. All winners and runners up will receive a certificate and trophy recognising their work in the programme.
Cllr Barry Johnson, Cabinet Member for Education, said: “It’s fantastic to see this year’s winners be announced as we recognise the exciting and innovative ideas of our young people from across the borough.
“The programme is always focused on real-life challenges and asking our young people to provide solutions to problems that are grounded in potential issues businesses may face as a borough. Taking part in Thurrock’s Next Top Boss helps to develop lots of different skills within our young people such as planning and organising a large scale project and managing a budget.
“A huge thank you to the ten schools and colleges across the borough who took up the challenge this year and congratulations to our winner and runner-up!”
A joint statement from Angela Clarke, Thurrock International Celebration of Culture and Neil Woodbridge, Thurrock Lifestyle Solutions who set the business scenario this year: “What a fantastic time we have had looking at the entrants for Thurrock’s Next Top Boss 2022. There were ten schools entering this year and once again we were so impressed with the entrepreneurial spirit of the young people of Thurrock.
“Some of the ideas were very clever and it felt like people really rose to the challenge of making the Thameside Complex a sustainable cultural hub owned by the community of Thurrock. It was hard to choose a winner but ultimately we loved the Fruit Cycle idea from Ortu Gable Hall School – they showed a real understanding of the potential market, had fabulous branding ideas, budgeting and we loved the ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ concept. Making your own smoothies on a bike could well be coming to the Thameside Complex sometime soon.”
Cllr Deb Huelin, Cabinet Member for Adults, Communities, and Arts & Culture added, “It always brings me great joy to know we are offering our young people a platform to share their energy and ideas. I would like to thank Neil and all involved for creating a business scenario around the Thameside in order to strengthen community engagement and provide valuable data as we continue to support the save the theatre group with their own business proposal.”