Major competition win for Economics and Business School
March 19, 2021

The Economics and Business School at Rydal Penrhos are celebrating a big win! 

One of our Rydal Penrhos teams “The Determinators” made up of Suhas Shekar, Simeon Murphy-Thomas, Juan Rajagopal, Damisola Animashaun and Patrick Burke shot to victory in the final stages of the Enterprise Challenge set by Lancaster University School of Management.

The competition narrowed from a large first field of contenders down to a group of 20 of some of the top schools in the country including Maidstone Grammar School, Lancaster Royal Grammar and Dulwich College.

It consisted of several rounds where the individual teams needed to present their ideas for a new enterprise, fully costed, that has to meet with some of the UN Sustainability Goals.

The Rydal Penrhos team decided to think about the school’s links to Uganda – one based on Methodist charity work we conduct there with pupils every two years – and to create a system of implementation of solar panels on Ugandan schools (starting with ten in the first five years but able to be rolled out and sized up to encompass the whole of the country and beyond).

Once the solar panels were in place then laptops would be provided to the schools which could be powered solely by the solar panels giving no long-term running costs or susceptibility to power outages.

The laptops would enable a continuous education stream from local teachers and those all over the world.

Hypothetically the team were going to go to the Overseas Development Agency (ODA), carbon offsetting schemes as well as private funders such as Dyson and British Gas to fund the project.

Having scooped up the Judges’ choice in round one, the pupils went on to the final five teams where they once again had to present their scheme and answer questions on it. Judged by lecturers at the Lancaster University School of Management alongside entrepreneurs in residence, the Year 12 boys were delighted to eventually be announced overall winners.

Team coordinator Simeon Murphy-Thomas, the only one on the team not studying Economics at A Level, said: “This has been a huge victory for the school and for us as individuals. We thought we would utilise our links to Ugandan schools to try and enhance the educational opportunities of Ugandan children with minimum environmental impact and in an efficient and economically sustainable way.

“We are grateful to the lecturers who recognised the efforts we put into this as a team, while working remotely and now since back in school. We have found it to be a very valuable experience and a great learning opportunity.

“Without support from our mentor Mr Farnell, I doubt our project would have been as concise and informative as it was. We are immensely grateful for all of his advice.”

Simeon is looking to go on to study dentistry in the future, as is Suhas. Damisola is looking at a career in Finance, Patrick in International Relations and Juan wishes to study Physics and is already 2/3 of the way through an Open University Degree in Mathematics.

Lancaster is one of the biggest management schools in the country and one of the few that has a large enterprise section. This Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIR) prize is exceptional as a result of being judged not only by academics but by successful entrepreneurs operating in the business world.

Mr Mike Farnell, who has taught Economics and Business in Rydal Penrhos for 34 years, recently stepped back from his teaching role to focus on University and Careers advice and counselling.

He said: “They did amazingly well under very trying circumstances.

“They needed to work collectively whilst remote and in lockdown, creating individual roles whilst moving forward as team and meeting a lot of business briefs. Within 100 days they had to develop business plans, do cash flow forecasts, discuss implementation and create impressive presentations and prepare for questioning. I am really very proud of them.”

Lancaster University Management School sent their congratulations to the team and said they had a “well-deserved victory and should be very proud”.

The actual prize extends well beyond a trophy. The team have won “for the school” an audience with an entrepreneur. Each of them has also been offered the opportunity of work experience in the management school and VIP tickets to the LUMS masterclass lectures which are normally only open to business leaders.

Well done The Determinators, you have made Rydal Penrhos very proud.

Lancaster Enterprise Presentation from Year 12


Anyone wishing to enquire about Rydal Penrhos School can do so by calling 01492 530155, email admissions@rydalpenrhos.com or register your interest online here: https://rydalpenrhos.com/admissions/apply-now.