The Ryman National Enterprise Challenge

March 14, 2017/ Inspire

What is the Ryman National Enterprise Challenge?

The Ryman National Enterprise Challenge (RNEC) is a fantastic opportunity for young people across the country to gain entrepreneurial skills and help to kick start their development into working life.

The concept for the Ryman National Enterprise Challenge was founded in 2012 by cousins Ben and Michael Dyer from Stoke-On-Trent. The aim was to create a programme that allows young students to experience a real life work environment, where they are matched with people they don’t know, working to tight deadlines, finding creative ways to communicate their ideas and ultimately present these ideas to a panel and their peers. The scheme presents young people with an opportunity to learn key skills including teamwork, communication, creativity, problem solving and leadership.

Since 2013, Theo Paphitis, former Dragon and Chairman of Ryman, has been supporting the RNEC and has since become the main ambassador when Ryman became the lead sponsor. The challenge has gone on to become the UK’s largest enterprise and employability competition, working with over 140,000 students from across the UK.

When asked about this continued partnership, Theo commented “I am delighted to be involved in such a great scheme to help children gain entrepreneurial skills and help them on their journey to a working life. It is such a fun and rewarding challenge – I can’t wait for the finals! “

How does the challenge work?

Running across the academic year, students from participating UK secondary schools work in mixed ability teams of six to compete against their peers across the year group. In their teams, they will work on tasks which are set by some of the UK’s largest businesses including Alton Towers, Gandys, Kingswood and Ryman.

This year’s challenge

Alton Towers has set the Key Stage 3 task which asks students to design and develop a new live event or attraction, based around the theme of their new roller-coaster “Galactica”, the world’s first fully integrated virtual reality roller-coaster.

The Key Stage 4 task has been set by Ryman and challenges the students to get their mobile tech heads on and develop ideas for Ryman’s first ever App. We have already had a number of high quality ideas including an educational app to help Dyslexic students and a Ryman take on the popular game, Pokémon Go. The students were briefed to consider the design of the app, how the app will look and feel, and finally how they are going to promote it.

At the national finals, the shortlisted teams will deliver their ideas to the judges, where they will be assessed on their ideas and the way it is presented. The judges are looking for a great business pitch covering their idea, target market, story, design, branding, promotion, press release and a 30 second TV Advert – just like going into Dragons Den!

This year’s challenge is the biggest yet with over 40,000 students expected to compete and over 1500 people are expected to attend the National Finals. Attendees will join head judge Theo Paphitis and other high profile guests and speakers. The 8 finalists will present to the panel and the winners will be announced, promising to be an incredibly exciting afternoon.

Celebrating last year’s winners

Each year we see two teams crowned national champions, one per challenge.

Last year, one of the winning teams was the Guernsey Grammar School team, who were crowned the Key Stage 3 champions with their outdoor activity concept: ‘King of the Jungle’. Filled with exciting obstacles, the idea was sure to be a hit in outdoor education centres throughout the UK. Our Key Stage 4 champions, and the second winning team was the team from Northampton Academy, who were hopeful that their new school based business idea ‘Vendinary’, would take over secondary schools throughout the UK.

How to enter?

The Ryman National Enterprise Challenge is fully inclusive to schools throughout the UK. In order to enter for the challenge you must be aged between 11 and 15, and attend a UK based secondary school. In each school the winning team then go on to represent the school at our National Finals which take place each summer, with this year's finals taking place at the Telford International Centre on Tuesday 4th July.

Don’t Miss Out!

To secure the challenge for your school is simple.

Get in touch with our RNEC team by calling: 01952 608480, the team will be happy to guide you through the booking process, and secure your place on the challenge.

The challenge is fully tailored to suit the needs of our schools. The RNEC schedule can be flexible to suit academic timetables, and our delivery style is adaptable to accommodate any school.

To find out more about the challenge or how your school or business could become involved please visit or to watch last year’s finals highlights please view the RNEC YouTube channel

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