FORMER Apprentice star Claire Young will be encouraging Melton youngsters to aim high at the launch of Pera’s annual Say Yes Challenge tommorrow.
The challenge, which is sponsored by The Pera Foundation with support from local organisations, is now in its second year and aims to deliver valuable life and business lessons to young people and to empower them to make a difference within their communities.
Claire (31), who came second in the BBC programme’s hunt for Lord Sugar’s assistant in 2008, will make a presentation at the event and hopes she can inspire youngsters to become more involved with their futures.
She said: “I hope to motivate students with my story. I have a non-business background and want to project the idea that with hard work, drive and the right attitude anything is possible.”
Fifty-six young people between the ages of 14 to 18 will be involved in this year’s challenge and will be working together to identify social issues and solutions across the Melton area, supported by business mentors.
Sarah Upton, Pera Foundation co-ordinator, said: “We are proud to sponsor the Say Yes Challenge again this year. Although the foundation is the driving force, it couldn’t happen without the support of Melton Council and Mars Food UK.
“Last year’s challenge produced a range of quality ideas and the judging panel found it really difficult to pick a winner. We’re hoping this year’s competition will be equally exciting.”
The Pera Foundation has given opportunities to many youngsters who have previously under-achieved at school, with the idea of building up their self-confidence not through classroom learning but through hands-on business activity.
Apprentice star Claire believes anyone is capable of succeeding. She said: “I say to youngsters, I was where you are 15 years ago and now I’ve got two businesses. I’ve met the Queen, the Prime Minister. I’m a normal girl from Yorkshire who doesn’t have a business background so If I can do it, you can.”
The 14-week project will culminate in a celebration evening in February at which the young entrepreneurs will submit their business plan and make a Dragon’s Den style presentation before an invited audience and judging panel.