Enterprising pupils in UK contest final

Some of the Toucan members, back row, from left, Sanjana Kini, Jenny Dingwall, Hannah Hawken, Jemima Gassom and Sephe Tapper. Front: Kirsty Luk, Abi Church, Emily Fung, Hannah Darnton and Ella Jones

Some of the Toucan members, back row, from left, Sanjana Kini, Jenny Dingwall, Hannah Hawken, Jemima Gassom and Sephe Tapper. Front: Kirsty Luk, Abi Church, Emily Fung, Hannah Darnton and Ella Jones

First published in Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Business Editor. Call me on 01865 425460

TEENAGERS are celebrating after their fledgling company won through to the finals of a national business competition.

Toucan, run by 13 girls from Oxford High School, specialises in luxury clothing accessories – including scarves and welly socks which they designed themselves and have manufactured in Scotland.

The group have claimed the South East regional title in the Young Enterprise contest and the youngsters will now go up against the top teams in the country next month.

Managing director Hannah Hawken, 17, said: “Young Enterprise has been an invaluable addition to student life in year 12 because it connects every individual to a wider world of work, which in turn enables them to make huge steps towards the start of our professional careers.

“We are proud to be supporting British industry and developing a national luxury clothing brand.’’ The Young Enterprise scheme involves pupils setting up and running their own businesses over the course of an academic year.

The best groups are then selected to compete in county finals, which were won by Toucan last month, before they triumphed again beating five other teams in the regional final.

The company has turned over almost £8,000 to date and recently signed a deal with Oxford retailer Shepherd and Woodward, which will be showcasing a window display of scarves in September.

Endorsements have also been received from pottery maker Emma Bridgewater and top model Fredi Fuller, who has agreed to a fashion shoot featuring the Toucan range.

As a result, although the business has to be dissolved under Young Enterprise rules, the group have decided to reboot it in their final year at school.

Oxford High School’s Young Enterprise link teacher Mike Gallacher said: “The Toucan team have shown themselves to be a highly focused group of entrepreneurs, who have a clear brand and are adept at spotting and implementing a business opportunity.

“They are a great team who have stuck to their identity of Made In Britain luxury clothing.

“Their professionalism is second-to-none, and it has been fantastic to see them develop their confidence and business acumen.”

Michael Mercieca, chief executive of Young Enterprise, said: “The company programme brings out some of the finest young talent in the UK, who compete with passion and drive.

“The students that compete create viable and scalable businesses, giving them first-hand experience in learning some of the most valuable lessons in running a successful organisation”.

Toucan will compete in the UK final in London on July 1.

  • Latest Business news:

Web videos strike chord with customers

Oxford Mail:

12:47pm Thursday 21st May 2015

GOOFING about on the internet has sent sales at an independent music store soaring and transformed its staff into YouTube stars.

County firms at forefront of UK export drive, survey finds

Oxford Mail:

12:46pm Thursday 21st May 2015

THE chief executive of Cobalt Lights Systems, Paul Loeffen, does not distinguish between domestic and export sales, which helped make the Milton Park-based company one of the most successful exporters among Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the UK.

Businesses list their concerns

Oxford Mail:

1:53pm Thursday 14th May 2015

Ben Holgate finds that congested roads and lack of affordable housing are big issues

Beauty firm advances in contest

Oxford Mail:

12:21pm Thursday 14th May 2015

A BEAUTY business has beaten thousands of other firms to reach the final cut of a national business competition.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree