Where will £10 take you?

We are increasingly being told that we live in a broken society, with anti social behaviour at an all time high and the young generation having no focus, drive or determination.
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Is this true? If you believe some of what is written then not only is it true, but things are worse than they have ever been and the young generation of today has no hope.
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However, I attended the Make Your Mark with a Tenner Awards at the IoD last week, and, to put it bluntly, they blew this preconception totally out of the water. It highlighted just what the young generation can achieve when given a small amount of trust, a £10 note and, crucially, encouraged to use free thought.
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The challenge was a very simple one, give £10 to school children aged 8 to 18 and they have to make as much money as possible in one month. They can either work alone or pool the £10s together. At the end of the month, if they have made money, they are asked to return the original £10 and then they can either keep the profits or donate it charity.
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So, think of a business idea, set it up, implement it and make money, all of it in 30 days and with a start up fund of £10. To put this in context, a lot of 1p sweets now cost more than 1p, a pint a beer can cost upwards of £3 and you won’t get change from £20 per person for a meal out; £10 sounds and actually is very little.
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Over 28,000 school children took part in the challenge and the awards last week highlighted just some of the many examples of what they achieved. One person aged 11 decided to make a mother’s day card, they were confirmed to sell it at a major supermarket chain, only to be let down at the very last minute. Rather than give up, they went to the local radio station, got them on side and ended up teaming up with a rival supermarket chain and making over £530 from a £10 investment. Another group, set up a company called Mobile Madness, which allowed people to recycle old and unwanted phones on the internet. The group made over £920 from a £10 investment.
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The school children were also encouraged to take part in a workshop that focused on interview techniques, how to do an elevator pitch and get your idea across to a journalist. Here I met two pupils who were 11 years’ old and with no prior experience they did an interview to camera, in which they came across as well as any FTSE100 Chief Executive who has had years of media training behind them, getting their points across clearly and concisely.
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To cap it off, all the school children I met had decided to put the profits they made into local charities.
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So returning back to my point at the start, I won’t shy away from the fact that, yes, there are problems in society, some issues are very real in relation to youth engagement; however when speaking to older generations I don’t think the problems we are facing now are new, they are the same problems that each generation faces. Only they are now more widely reported.
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The Make Your Mark with a Tenner challenge and awards highlighted that the youth of today, rather than being focused on ASBO top trumps are actually displaying some truly remarkable traits in enterprise and entrepreneurialism. If you can turn £10 into £500 or £900 at the age of 11 and have the natural ability to communicate a message clearly and with passion then these are the types of people who will be setting up and leading our world-beating enterprises in the future. And I am pleased to say that this future is in safe hands.

Written by Alex Mitchell

I am the Founder of Causarma, a strategy and campaigns agency that is focused on Enterprise, Youth and Sport. I am also the Founder of Kit Us Out, a charity supporting Para Athletes from developing nations through the provision of key kit and equipment. I am the current Chair of the IoD 99, a network of high growth young entrepreneurs. I am also VP of the Confederation of Young Entrepreneurs, a network for Founders across Europe focused on Scale up Growth You can follow me on Twitter (www.twitter.com/AlexDEMitchell) and Instagram (www.instagram.com/AlexDEMitchell

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