A competition that aims to celebrate the creativity and entrepreneurship of teenagers has been shortlisted for a raft of awards.
The Cotswold Challenge was established last year for young people who would have been taking their GCSEs, A Levels or equivalent examinations to demonstrate their talent.
This year the challenge has been expanded to include Swindon, and has been shortlisted in three categories at the South West Business Awards.
The challenge is shortlisted in the Charity of the Year, New Start-Up Business of the Year, and Covid Community Champion categories.
The winners will be announced at a virtual Awards Ceremony this Thursday evening.
Meanwhile, Andy Langley, CEO of Swindon-based IT company Ntegra has joined the judging panel.
Andy, who is also a trustee of youth development organisation The Platform Project, said: “I’m honoured to be involved with The Cotswold Challenge 2021. This initiative chimes with our company ethos of supporting new talent.
“Last year and 2021 are challenging for any young person and we’re delighted as a company to be able to embrace the creativity which we’re sure entrants will share with us when the competition goes live.”
Allison Murray, who runs a brand and identity business, Allison Murray Design is one of The Cotswold Challenge team.
She said: “We are thrilled to have our important initiative recognised. When we started this challenge for young students last year during the first lockdown, none of us expected it to be so successful. We were overwhelmed at the time to receive over 500 entries.”
Nigel Chute of Chute Design agreed and said: “The Cotswold Challenge was set up to help students in Swindon and the Cotswolds that were going to miss out on their GCSEs and A-Levels and we were so fortunate to be supported by many generous sponsors, expert celebrity judges and even had a letter from the Secretary of State for Education. I feel honoured to be part of the initiative.”
Fiona Scott, who is a media consultant based in Swindon and is also one of the team of four behind the highly successful Challenge, said: “We never in a million years imagined how successful or popular the Challenge would be.
"It was so successful that we are extending it this year to Year 11, 12 and 13 students at schools and colleges in and around Swindon.
“Then to be supported by the Ntegra team and for Andy to give up his time, alongside other judges, to look at the work the young people share with us, is humbling. Last year more than 500 young people took part and their talent was awe-inspiring”
New for 2021 is The Special Recognition Award for Outstanding Talent. One student from each of the three categories – Art & Design, Creative Writing and Innovation & Entrepreneurial Thinking – will be chosen to receive a £250 prize by the team for their contribution.
The Cotswold Challenge 2021 will launch on June 1 and the closing date for entries will be July 6.
Pictured: Andy Langley, CEO of Ntegra (front centre) with Allison Murray, Fiona Scott, Nigel Chute, and Chris Roberts.