Entrepreneurial Gateshead students compete to say pants to poverty

Gateshead College will be saying pants to poverty after announcing its involvement in a national college initiative that will see students design Olympic-themed underwear for sale.

The first 'Pantrepreneur Challenge' - the first and only one of its type in the UK - is being run in conjunction with Fairtrade underwear brand Pants to Poverty. It has been organised by Gazelle, group of forward thinking college Principals committed to using entrepreneurship as a strategic driver for change within colleges.

Students at Gateshead College will form several business teams before putting their talents to the test against each other to create an exclusive design to pitch to Ben Ramsden, founder of Pants to Poverty.

Team members will include a student designer, financier, marketer, sales person and manager who are being encouraged to work and think like entrepreneurs, generating new ideas and a better understanding of competitive business processes.

Ben Ramsden will unveil in London on 8 June the winning team from each of the 15 participating colleges based on the best design and the most commercially viable plan.

The students will then take their plans to the next step generating revenue and profits from their entrepreneurialism when their creativity is put into production at Pants to Poverty's manufacturing facility in India before going on sale at its outlets around the world.

An overall winning team will also be chosen, enjoying the opportunity to travel to India to see first-hand the company's supply chain, from cotton to bottom.

The runners up will get the chance to put their business skills into action running Pants to Poverty stalls at summer music festivals while the third prize will be a year's worth of the branded underwear.

The 'Pantrepreneur Challenge' will build on the existing Gazelle commitment to bring entrepreneurship into the heart of education creating colleges where the ethos, values and culture is distinctively geared towards wealth creation, business formation and  growth and employment outcomes. Gazelle has been created by Gazelle Global a company founded by five college principals including Gateshead College principal Richard Thorold.

It is already working with some of Britain's inspirational entrepreneurs to ensure students are equipped with an ambitious, can-do attitude and prepared for success in employment in today's tough economic climate.

Richard Thorold said: "The 'Pantrepreneur Challenge' will be a fun yet unique challenge with a serious purpose that reinforces our commitment to being an entrepreneurial college.

"It is a real commercial initiative that will inspire our students and others to take part in a tangible and engaging way that brings entrepreneurial skills to life.

"It will also teach our students that there can be a strong social purpose in business and that although making money is important to keeping our economy going, it doesn't have to be the only objective at the heart of a business.

It's fantastic to have someone as successful and innovative as Ben inspiring our students. Pants to Poverty is a great business, and we expect this contest to be a learning process that will encourage a real entrepreneurial mindset in those taking part."

Ben Ramsden is a Gazelle Entrepreneur, part of a group of select business leaders who are working with Gazelle Colleges to bring their experience of growing successful businesses into the heart of the further education sector.

He said: "For young people starting their careers in today's economic climate, it is more important than ever to encourage and inspire them to start their own businesses and get experience whilst at college.

"This competition will give students the chance to learn how to run their own business, while also designing a very sexy pair of pants! What's more, students will see how even small businesses can change the world for the better."

"As a Gazelle Entrepreneur, I am committed to helping Gazelle principals to apply entrepreneurship to the further education sector, in order to get more people not just taking jobs but making jobs."