• Christian Michaels

Helping the Younger Generation Step into Business: An Afternoon at The Deans Primary School

In November 2015, I was granted a fantastic opportunity by Stepping into Business, whereby I could help to inspire a class of 30 Year 5 pupils from The Deans Primary School in Salford, all the while being able to reflect on my own choices and inspiration for going into business; it didn’t take long to say yes!

The Stepping into Business team work to inspire the next generation of young business owners and entrepreneurs through workshops, activities, and a good old fashioned dollop of fun. Thanks to a chance meeting with the lovely Dinah Turner, I found myself spending the afternoon with a hugely switched on group of 9 and 10 year olds – and I had the time of my life!

Stepping into Business & Global Entrepreneur Week

Dinah and I met at a Northern Powerhouse conference in Autumn 2016, and it’s to Dinah I owe my thanks for the opportunity and the experience. As a business owner myself, working in one of the most enjoyable industries out there – marketing and web design – I leapt at the chance to help with Stepping into Business’ plans for Global Entrepreneur Week.

GEW is the world’s largest campaign to promote entrepreneurship, and is held on November 16th to 22nd annually around the globe. In 2015, Stepping into Business had some brilliant activities in mind for the week, and I was more than happy to help. Meeting the Class

As any teacher will tell you on their first day of training, public speaking at a conference full of grown-ups pales in comparison to speaking in front of children. Thankfully, The Deans’ Year 5 class were very well behaved, extremely polite and so welcoming that I couldn’t help but feel positive about the afternoon ahead. During the morning session, Dinah had given a great background to marketing and business, meaning that when I got there, some of the children were already practically experts!

They were also an inquisitive bunch, and when they had the chance to ask questions, I found myself happily explaining what I do (own a business), what my company does (helps other businesses with their marketing), and my inspiration for doing what I do (plenty of freedom and lots to enjoy).

Building Their Brand

The class was then split up into groups and asked to first come up with their own unique name. Instantly, we were presented with a plethora of inventive and clever names, often inspired from existing brands or messages. At this stage, I had the opportunity to talk to each of the groups and learn where their names came from – if you ever wonder if brand awareness exists, the proof that it does was in that classroom.

This became even more evident when I asked who could name a famous brand – I’m happy to report that every hand shot up, with some fantastic examples, such as Gucci, Apple and Bentley. I know what you’re thinking: expensive tastes!

Marketing Against Bullying

My visit also happened to take place during Anti-Bullying Week, an annual occurrence dedicated to tackling the issue of bullying in schools. This offered the perfect tie-in to my planned activity, and the teams were each tasked with creating an eye-catching anti-bullying poster – complete with a logo, slogan and catchy jingle to present to the class (i.e. the full marketing package). The results were fantastically creative and spot on – I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of the pupils becoming marketing gurus in the future!

Overall, it was an extremely positive afternoon, and I was genuinely impressed with the aptitude of the class, their creativity, and their willingness to participate; I had a great time, and I hope they did too. I even left with a wonderful thank you card from Alix, which I’ll always keep to remind me of my afternoon at The Deans Primary School. Of course, none of this would have been possible without Dinah Turner and the brilliant team at Stepping into Business - thank you for inviting me, I’d love to do it again some time!

Speaking of the event, Dinah said:

“it was fantastic to have Christian come in to work with the children, we try to connect businesses and schools in a productive and beneficial way, bringing a bit of the real world into school to make learning feel more relevant and very ‘real’! We had a great day and the children and teachers really enjoyed the opportunity to try something different and get feedback from Christian. Their logos and slogans were great and showed us we have some great talent up and coming in Manchester… remember everyone, ‘Don’t Fight - It’s not right!”…who can argue with that?”

To find out more about Stepping into Business and the brilliant things they do to encourage entrepreneurship, head to their website here.

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