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Issue:- 28 August 2014

Poppy, 13, aims for the sweet smell of success by starting her own scented candle jar business

Schoolgirl entrepreneur Poppy Wilson is pictured with Hype’s Matthew Houghton.

SCHOOLGIRL entrepreneur Poppy Wilson is hoping that competitors won't be able to hold a candle to her new business venture.  Because, at the age of just 13, she's aiming for the sweet smell of success by embarking on an ambitious project to make and sell a range of scented candle jars.  To help her get the scheme up and running she's already had a big cash boost of £100 from the Wirral Youth Enterprise Competition based at Pyramids Shopping Centre in Birkenhead.

Being run by HYPE - 'Helping Young People Everywhere' - which aims to help young people gain valuable work experience and qualifications, the competition is challenging young people aged between seven and 24 to come up with fresh business ideas and try to win one of a series of cash prizes from £10 to £100 to help them get it off the ground.

The 1st round of the competition was held at Pyramids in July and early August 2014 and the 2nd round started on 27 August 2014 and runs until 30 August 2014, from a base at the Bandstand in St John's Square in the Centre.  Among those lucky enough to benefit from the first phase of the competition was enterprising Poppy Wilson from Saughall Massey on the Wirral who wowed judges with her scheme to make and sell scented candle jars to neighbours and friends.  And she's encouraging other young people with an eye to business to make their own bid for some kick start cash.

Poppy, who attends West Kirby Girls' Grammar School where she'll be in Year 9 from September, said:- "I heard about the enterprise competition from a friend and went along to Pyramids to find out more about it a few weeks ago.  I filled in all the details of my idea to make scented candle jars on the entry form and then I heard I had won a prize of £100, which is really good and will help me get my business started. Some of the materials I'm using are quite expensive so the money will pay for these.  I think the competition is a great idea and if any other young person like me has an idea for their own business I'd tell them to go along to Pyramids later this month and enter themselves."

Poppy explained that her big idea was to buy in a stock of candle wax, candle wicks and glass jars to produce her product in a range of fruit "flavours" from strawberry to lemon curd.  She'll then sell them for £4 each to neighbours and friends either by her own local leafleting, word of mouth recommendations or online through social media sites.  Poppy reckons her total income from the first batch will be £160 which, minus her initial outlay, should leave her with a healthy profit of £60.

"The project will last for 1 month, but if it's successful I intend to keep things going by putting back the profit I make from the first batch of candle jars into the business," My candles are going to look just like homemade jars of jam with material over the top and string tied around for a vintage look to make them appealing to the eye.  I think people would choose to, buy my product over others because they are unique as gifts and reasonably priced so people can afford them. I'm starting off with candles smelling strongly of strawberries and then, when I make some profit and invest in more materials, I'll try out lemon curd, blueberry, raspberry and lime.  I'm designing and putting out leaflets advertising my candles on people's doorsteps and then I'll deliver them. My customers will mainly come from the Wirral area but I will also be advertising on social networking so I'm hoping to make the business larger and sell all over the country.  I've only just started making the candles but I've already had about 10 orders from my neighbours, friends and family." said Poppy.

Despite her early display of business flair, Poppy, who has a sister Milly, 11, and 7 year old brother Ben, said she isn't considering a career in commerce as she plans eventually to become a doctor.  "At the moment I'm just making and selling the candles because it's a lot of fun but if I'm really successful then maybe I'd change my plans," she confessed.

HYPE, which is running the Wirral Youth Enterprise Competition, was set up by Matthew Houghton in 2007 to offer support to young people across Wirral in a range of settings that includes youth clubs, employment programmes and education.

Matthew said:- "We know Wirral has some of the most innovative and talented young people around. So we're asking them what great ideas they can come up with and what would £10 or even £100 could do to help get it off the ground. We'll give people the money if the idea is a good one which is why we are going to be at the Bandstand in Pyramids Shopping Centre until Saturday, 30 August 2014, from 10am to 4pm. There young people can talk to our team about their ideas and fill in an application form. If their application is successful they can get cracking with their idea. To apply you must be aged between seven and 24 years old. You can get help from other people but the lead person must be under 24."

Derek Millar, Commercial Director for Pyramids Shopping Centre, said:- "It is exciting and inspiring to see some of the ideas which are coming through from young people in this terrific partnership project we have set up with Matthew and Hype.  We wish Poppy lots of success and look forward to hearing about the progress of her project."

Matthew added:- "The ideas can be anything and everything.  £10 could buy you a bucket and sponge and you could start washing cars. A few quid can set you up with a website and you could be selling online. You could make cards, cakes, drinks or bracelets to sell. If you are creative how about selling your own paintings, craft work or even music."

To find out more about the competition or other events planned with Pyramids Shopping Centre, call:- 0151 538 3307or 07719 171833,or you can also send an email to HYPE or download an application form.

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