North East businesses inspire future entrepreneurs

North East businesses inspire future entrepreneurs

Businesses in the North East are being urged to help inspire the entrepreneurs of tomorrow in a new enterprise education challenge.

Targeting 10 and 11 year olds, the new initiative will encourage children to consider looking to entrepreneurship as a career in the future, by allowing them to interact with local businesspeople on a range of projects.

The scheme, launching on 18 March as the BIG PIE Friday challenge, will see businesses engage with future generations in enterprise and Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) based activities.

As part of the Primary Inspiration through Enterprise (PIE) Project, the challenge is hoped to reach around 250 primary schools in North Tyneside, Newcastle and Northumberland, who will compete with each other on timed activities aimed to bring business education to life.

Leading North East business figure, Bob Paton CBE, who was interim chief executive of the North East LEP last year, is spearheading the campaign and hopes the challenge will improve career prospects for the region’s young people.

“I want to help bring the whole community together for a common purpose creating a movement all around enterprise education.

“I now need everyone to get behind this exciting initiative,” he says.

The unique project builds on the success of the already established PIE Project by Ammar Mirza, who launched it in 2013 in collaboration with Tyneview School and Walkergate School.

“Four schools came together and established a corner shop that enabled pupils to experience enterprise activities first-hand,” Mr Mirza explained.

“We engaged with businesses including Your Homes Newcastle, Leazes Homes, Northumbria Water and lots of local organisations who came into the schools and provided expert advice and guidance to the students.”

Rather than a one size fits all approach the PIE Project will work with the school to match the interests of the pupils and the local business opportunities available to them.

The project will also give students the opportunity to achieve an industry recognised qualification which can be put towards future employment.

Schools or businesses who would like further details on the Big PIE challenge, or who like to register to take part, can email project officer Tony Stafford on or call him on 0191 2424894.