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Young entrepreneurs from Poole win prestigious regional award

Budding young entrepreneurs from Poole have shown what it takes to be successful in business by winning the South West Regional Company of the Year award.

Six students from St Edward’s School won the prestigious award for their ‘Growing memories’ product, which aims to unite families and loved ones by planting a tree and living sustainable lives. Their company, Cortex, provides a blue spruce seedling sold in a recycled branded can, together with a kit to make a model of a small woodland hut. The idea is to mark a special occasion by planting a tree and as the tree grows it will remind people of their memories.

The product has also expanded into other markets including weddings with ‘Wedding memories’ and funerals with ‘Loving memories’.

Cortex Managing Director, Macaulay Smith from St Edward’s School, said: “Our product is targeted at families who want to do something different and go outdoors more. Families can plant the tree together and perhaps make the matchstick cabin to go with it as a parent and child activity. The wedding market encourages trees to be planted, which is good for the environment and provides a memory of the happy occasion.”

The competition is organised by Young Enterprise and this year over 300 students took part forming 27 companies. Cortex beat off local competition to win the Dorset finals earlier this year and has now beaten 7 companies representing the whole of the South West to win the coveted regional award. Cortex will now compete against 13 fledgling businesses to battle it out to be crowned UK Company of the Year at the Young Enterprise final on 2 July.

Paul Booker, Chairman of Young Enterprise Dorset Board, commented: “I am always amazed at the commitment and enthusiasm of the students taking part and this year was no exception. The winning company, Cortex, had clearly identified a market opportunity and an emotional message in ‘creating memories’. They are worthy winners indeed and I look forward to seeing their progress in the national final.”

The Mayor of Poole, Councillor Ann Stribley, said: “I was really impressed by the students. Their passion and enthusiasm for their product was fantastic and I was very proud to be part of their celebrations.”

Councillor Janet Walton, Leader of the Council, Borough of Poole, said: “The Young Enterprise programme is an exciting way for young people to get their first taste of business. The skills and experience they learn during the process stands them in good stead for the future.”