Young entrepreneurs in sales pitch to sacked ‘apprentice’ Harry Hitchens

Teenage entrepreneur Harry Hitchens, the ambitious 16-year-old who was told ‘you’re fired’ in the BBC1’s Young Apprentice semi-finals, was among the judges at this year’s regional Young Enterprise contest staged in the East End.

Schoolkids setting up and running their own companies were busy selling their products to shoppers at Spitalfields Old Market when he looked in with experts from the London Business School and the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

The 40 stalls from schools all over London included an enterprising team from Stepney’s Sir John Cass Secondary who used their negotiating skills to buy scarves, perfumes and jewellery from distributors in the East End to sell at a profit.

But it didn’t quite match the enterprise of pupils from Kingston Grammar in Surrey who put their best foot forward to take the coveted ‘Most Innovative Product’ title with their waterproof thermal socks which they designed and put into production themselves.

“Their timing was impeccable,” said Old Spitalfields Market’s Elinor Barnatt. “They had the coldest day of the year to sell their thermal socks.”

The annual contest is part of a Young Enterprise programme where pupils aged 16 to 19 set up and run their own company for a year, with a professional business mentor guiding them.