Enterprising students urge us all to take a walk on the wild side

YOUNG entrepreneurs have proved they are one step ahead of the rest with an innovative new business idea, aimed at encouraging families to spend more time together walking in the great outdoors.

The Ripon Grammar School students were awarded ‘Best sales team’ at the Asda Young Enterprise Trade Fair when they demonstrated their novel new walking app for the first time.

They won over members of the public and a panel of judges with their impressive Point of Interest app, which includes fun facts and information about wildlife, history, landmarks and community events linked to local walks.

Araminta Praud, 17, from Kirkby Hill, explained: “We want to help support the local community and make people aware of all the things there are to do in our area. But it’s also about making walking fun for younger people, to get them off their computers and out into the outdoors.”

Charlotte Crum, 16, from Ripon, stressed that connecting with nature was now more important than ever: “The world is getting more digital every day.”

Joe Noble, 17, from Kirkby Malzeard added: “We live in such a beautiful part of the country, we want to show people what is out there for them to enjoy.”

The students, who started developing the app in September, are currently carrying out research into their proposed walks and are hoping to link up with community groups and walking clubs to help them take it further.

Emmi Scaife, 17, from Ripon, explained how they are also hoping to connect with local health agencies: “It is so important for our health, both physical and mental, to get outdoors and walk more.”

Although the team has been concentrating on the local Ripon area to begin with, they plan to roll the app out over a wider area and have been selling walking-related products, such as hand warmers, hats, socks, gloves and portable chargers, both to raise funds and increase awareness of their product.

Judges, including the Mayor of Harrogate Coun Bernard Bateman, MBE, Mayoress Linda Bateman and industry experts from Asda, commented on how well the team engaged with members of the public at the launch.

A nature scene backdrop they created, with face cut-outs for children to have their photographs taken, was just one of the things which helped to draw the crowds to their stand at the weekend.

RGS Young Enterprise co-ordinator Bob Walker said: “All the judges were impressed by our students and their excellent products and services and wished them well for the next stage of the competition.”

The team are now preparing to present their product at another trade fair in York and will be taking part in the Young Enterprise Harrogate and Craven Final showcase event in Skipton in March.

Emily Koscik-Jones, 16, from Cundall, commented: “What we’re emphasising is that walking is something that’s free and accessible to everyone.”

Ed Hutchinson, 17, from Markington, added: “At the end of it all, we hope we can encourage more families to enjoy making deeper-rooted, longer lasting memories together in the outdoors.”

Last week, the Point of Interest team and a second RGS Young Enterprise team, Planet Us, which is selling ethical bathroom products, also presented their ideas in a Dragon’s Den-style pitch to the marketing department at Vocalink (MasterCard) in Harrogate.

“The staff at Vocalink were truly impressed by both teams and the way they eloquently delivered their talks with such clarity and confidence,” said Mr Walker.

CAPTIONS Above (l-r) Nathan Whyman (MasterCard) Sebastian Lyons, Jessica Pawley, Tom Senior, Richard Gorman (marketing), Steve Dobby (marketing), Isla Sloan, Emmi Scaife, Alia Moon, William Newbold, Joseph Stacy and Ashley Laverick (MasterCard)

Top, back row (l-r) Charlotte Crum, Araminta Praud, Joe Noble; front row (l-r) Emmi Scaife, Emily Koscik-Jones, Ed Hutchinson