The Suffolk Apprentice Project

Developing young people and supporting local charities A Suffolk competition aimed at helping aspiring young entrepreneurs, as well as local charities in the county, has culminated with the winner being announced.

Working alongside 10 other candidates over eight months, Tom James finally gained the top spot on The Suffolk Apprentice Project with his business idea, Reset & Chill; a mobile meditation space aimed at the corporate world which helps to improve staff wellbeing.

The Suffolk Apprentice Project is the idea of Founder and Director of BGCN, Peter Basford and the candidates, all with a business idea, were recruited from local colleges, sixth forms and the University of Suffolk.

The initiative was supported by local businesses, Abbeygate Accountancy, Azexis, Compass Point Recruitment, FIS Windows, John Banks Group, Measured Brilliance and SourceOne Consulting, as well as IoD Suffolk.

Peter explained how the competition worked: “Each month the candidates were set a task to complete for a Suffolk-based charity. The task tested the candidates’ skills, such as marketing, planning and sales, as well as fundraising, and influencing.

“Each task had a number of reviewers comprising representatives from both that month’s charity and local businesspeople, who followed each team and monitored their progress in raising money, working collaboratively and showing leadership and initiative.”

As well as gaining support from the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce and the Suffolk Community Foundation, the charities and community groups which took part included, Age UK Suffolk, Future Inclusions, Greener Growth, My Wish, SARS999, Steel Bones and St Elizabeth Hospice.

The candidates were then reduced to the final four, Joseph Paul, Rebecca Scerri, Chris Silovsky and Tom James. And they went on to present their business plans to a panel of judges made up of local business leaders and coaches.

At a special event held at the Ipswich Waterfront Innovation Centre, the winning candidate, Tom James was presented with a package of goodies to get his business off the ground including £5000 cash, a year’s business coaching, a new website build, as well as membership to the Institute of directors and a year’s accountancy fees.