Young Enterprise North West Final 21/6/2012

2 Jul

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Hosting an awards event always comes with technical and logistical challenges. I’ve mentioned a few of them on this blog already. But the Young Enterprise Awards, held under the fuselage of Concorde at Manchester Airport, was a terrific occasion but with a massive impediment to my ability to the best job I possibly could.

It wasn’t the 280 guests – no, they were all really well behaved. It wasn’t a technical problem, the event production was slick and well run, even the anticipated aircraft noise wasn’t a massive intrusion – or maybe we didn’t notice. Yes, there was a lot of business to get through – lots of thank yous, lots of people to get certificates and prizes. But none of that is a moan or a grumble, or an excuse. Nor was it the problem on the night. But I mention them all just to set in context what the event host has to work with.

No, the problem was me and my emotions. Seeing the effort and the passion of teenage kids to operate and run a business and to present in front of so many people was so impressive. So awe inspiring and it filled me with such a sense of pride and borderline anger for young people. In fact, it was so awe inspiring that I had a lump in my throat all the way through. Kids get such a bad press, they get so slated as being the me generation and for being hopeless. This hopefully kicked that notion into touch.

But if that sounds corny, I want to bring it into closer context still. I did the event last year and thought to myself how brilliant it would be if our own 5 kids could do amazing things like this. Not because I’m a pushy Dad, but because I believe so firmly in the need to create a culture of enterprise and energy for business that I need to start close to home. So, I made sure my family came too. They were riveted all the way through, which made it even harder for myself seeing them being inspired by kids a few years older than them.

Well, I didn’t burst into tears. I didn’t choke, but the powerful emotions on show from the winners and the finalists were draining. One of the best events I’ve ever done, one of the most satisfying, but also a real challenge too.

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