STUDENTS showed they were on the ball by winning a national competition run by the Premier League.
The team of youngsters from St Michael’s RC School in Billingham were crowned the winners of the Premier League Enterprise Challenge.
Entrepreneurial pupils from schools around the country displayed their business and presentational skills in the competition final in Westminster.
St Michael’s, representing Middlesbrough FC, were crowned the winners after coming up with a series of bright ideas to improve the match-day experience for fans.
They included setting up a smartphone app for ticket sales, an interactive stadium map and an option to pre-order club merchandise.
Other ideas were for hawker-style food and drink sellers, colour coded walkways and using inspirational quotes from local figures.
The team had to deliver a Dragons Den-style pitch to a panel of judges on their ideas.
St Michael’s student Max Bover said: “When we started I was wishing that we would win but I didn’t think we’d get through. The other teams were great so I was surprised we won.
“This competition boosts your confidence. I was nervous at the start but as soon as we began speaking, I lost all my nerves.”
The final was attended by former Tottenham Hotspur captain Ledley King and Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore.
For winning, the team will visit London early next year when they will conduct a Q&A session with the Premier League boss.
They will also visit Downing Street to meet Lord Young, the Government’s enterprise advisor and will open the London Stock Exchange.
Patricia Carroll, St Michael’s whole school raising achievement co-ordinator, said: “The school is over the moon at their success. It is a big achievement.
“They have worked really hard and what they produced was amazing for 13 and 14-year-olds.”
Michael Fallon, Minister of State for Business and Enterprise, said: “Getting young people interested and engaged with enterprise is vital if we are to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs. The Premier League’s Enterprise Challenge is a creative way of kick starting a passion for business in young people.
“It gives them a real taste for business by pitching their ideas to a panel of business experts.”