Hammers reach Enterprise Challenge final

Students from Stepney Green Maths, Computing and Science College will be representing West Ham United at the Premier League Enterprise Challenge Final after winning their heat at the Emirates Stadium.  

The young Hammers beat off competition from Arsenal, Chelsea, Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur to win through to the London final in March and battle it out for the chance to win the coveted award for West Ham for the second time in three years.   

The innovative project is a business and skills based competition run by the Premier League and Sport Relief, which this year tasked pupils with working on a strategy to help encourage fans to spend more time at stadiums on match days. 

With 29 school groups representing Premier League and Football League clubs up and down the country, the Hammers will now progress to the final on 9 March, where they will go head-to-head in pitching their idea to a panel of judges from the world of sport and business. 

The local wannabe entrepreneurs will face stiff competition from five other school groups, representing Swansea City, Everton, Middlesbrough, Manchester United and Norwich City. 

Since its introduction in 2009, 10,000 young people aged between 13 and 17 have taken part in the programme which uses business models of professional football clubs to deliver enterprise education, with another 1,000 set to take part in this year’s competition.

The boys from Stepney Green were left stunned as they were announced as winners of the Challenge, having fended off stiff competition from other London based clubs. Foundation team member Rashadul Alam could hardly contain his delight.

“I’m ecstatic! We worked for hours and hours on the presentation and that second when our name was read out was the realisation of all of that work. I’ve learnt so many new skills and I’ve gained so much confidence from this whole experience. I’ve been so grateful for the opportunity!”

The Premier League Enterprise challenge has the power to change lives and none more so than for the tournament’s former winners from 2014 that, having come through the project with the WHU Foundation, are now mentoring this year’s challengers.

2014 Enterprise Challenge winner Sayed Ashrabul said: “We’ve been through the Enterprise Challenge before and we know how much time and effort goes into it! The boys have done so well to reach the final and they fully deserve it. It’s been fantastic to have been able to mentor them having won the tournament with the Foundation back in 2014.

“Just like the West Ham United Foundation staff mentored us and helped develop us as people, we can now give back to the younger generation of students and help offer them some guidance.”

The same sentiment was echoed by WHU Foundation Enterprise Co-Ordinator Jack Toghli, who had seen a massive personal development in the team.

“The boys have done great. They’ve put a lot of hours in over the months and when I started with them they were nervous and they have come on massively. Their confidence levels have gone through the roof.

“Having our 2014 winners here as mentors is such a fantastic example of the Foundation’s commitment to creating the leaders of tomorrow, to go out into the community and inspire the next generation. Hopefully this year’s participants can go on to mentor the Enterprise Challengers of the future!”

Premier League Executive Chairman, Richard Scudamore, who set this year’s task said: “I am sure this year’s challenge, our eighth, will produce even better ideas generated by even more enthusiastic and engaged young people. Our successful partnership with Sport Relief, Premier League and Football League clubs, to deliver education with football as the backdrop, continues to bring new and exciting entrepreneurs to the fore. I look forward to seeing the six Play-Off winning groups at the final in March.”