Youngsters win national award for innovation

A group of school children from London who invented a waterproof notebook and pen which can be used to write underwater have won a prestigious national award. The team from St Paul’s School in Barnes, who set up a company called VenturePad, were presented with the FedEx Access Award at the national Company of the Year competition.

“I’d like to congratulate the students from St Paul’s School for winning,” said Michael Mercieca, chief executive of Young Enterprise, the organisation behind the event which looks into giving young adults aged 15-19 the chance to set up and run a profitable business, supported by teachers and volunteers from local businesses. “The Company national final is the ultimate measure of many months of hard work, representing students’ innovation, resilience and business acumen,” he added. “You don’t get this stuff from a textbook, and we are greatly encouraged by our research which shows that 95% of Company alumni go on to higher education, employment or training, 6% higher than the national average of 89%.”

Ed Astakhov from VenturePad said: “With the level of commitment each member of the team has put into VenturePad, winning the final quite simply means everything to us.”

Emma Boya, corporate communications manager, FedEx Express Europe, said: “The level of competition at these events is very high, and it’s encouraging to see so many young people enthusiastic about the benefits global entrepreneurship can offer.”

Following on from its national success, VenturePad was invited to compete against student companies from 36 countries in the European Company of the Year Championship in Brussels and was awarded the Pulse Foundation Most Astonishing Idea.