Student entrepreneurs launch mobile coffee shop in a converted horse box
A group of Shropshire sixth form students is steaming ahead with a brew for success as they launch their own school coffee shop – in a renovated horse box.
The Wrekin Entrepreneurs Club at Wrekin College is officially launching the venture this week which will see them sell hot drinks and other refreshments at a range of different events and venues.
Called Express-o, the new business will be a legacy project at the school which will give pupils a chance to run a real business.
Current pupils have been appointed to key management positions. This includes managing director Lily Stockdale, marketing officers Megan Irving and Issy Simpson, financial officers James Pearson and Joschua Honsu, sales manager Reuben Kaul, HR and operations managers Tom Farrow and Hermione Heath, who will help steer the coffee shop to success.
There are also a group of younger students who will support the running of the operation once it is open. When the incumbent managers leave, the younger pupils will step in to take on the reins of running it with the school’s support.
Wrekin College economics and business teacher Jonathan Longfellow said he was really impressed by how well the pupils had approached the project so far and the commitment and enthusiasm they had shown to get it to this stage.
“The team had to pitch their idea to a Dragon’s Den style panel at the school and were then awarded funding to help launch the scheme,” he added.
“They have carried out extensive research to see what might work well and be in demand here at school events and also provide other opportunities to make it a success. Then they have put in the extra hours and the sometimes physically challenging work of getting it ready to open.”
Mr Longfellow said the group meets regularly, working on not only renovating the horse box but creating menus with must-have appeal, social media platforms for the coffee shop, and developing other marketing campaigns, staff rotas, and stock and supply chains.
He said there were also plans in the pipeline to look at how they can extend their offering including themed menus according to events.
“They are all really excited about getting out there and running the coffee shop now and getting feedback on ways in which they can improve it still further and continue to grow the business," he added.
"My hope is that each year a new cohort of student business leaders take the operation to a new level.”
Wrekin College launched its new Business School in 2017 in a bid to encourage more employability and real life skills to be taught at school.
The centre, which boasts a board room and lecture theatre, has hosted a number of prestigious business events and regularly welcomes leading speakers from various industries and sectors to talk to pupils.
Mr Longfellow said: “This is a business I think this age group understands well which is evidenced by their high levels of enthusiasm for the project. I am really looking forward to seeing it regularly in action here at school and further afield.”