Thursday 6th May was not just Election Night – it was also the Young Enterprise County Finals at Shire Hall in Chelmsford. After a long and testing day and evening, the team from Colchester County High School – ‘Thirteen’ – was named as East of England Young Enterprise Company of the Year 2010 as a result of their successful financial, marketing, product development and presentational handling of their inspired healthy eating ‘Vegimat’.

The competition involved the five Essex Area Finalists setting up their trade stands at Shire Hall for the afternoon, discussing their product and company progress with local business executives and a panel of judges. ‘Thirteen’ had also put together a 10-page company report which was read in detail and analysed by the judges. In the evening, more businesses, general public and team supporters arrived to watch the formal presentations.

“It was quite a formidable event, but everyone in the team knows each other very well and we each have individual strengths and areas of expertise that we recognise and have used to make the company strong and effective and we have a product that is in serious demand – so we hoped that we were in with a chance, “ says ‘Thirteen’ Managing Director, Hayley Turner. “It was nerve-wracking but exciting to meet all these successful business people and it was an excellent opportunity to ask them questions and to learn how to develop the company and the product further. We also enjoyed meeting the other contestants and seeing their range of products and hearing about their experiences. The presentation went well, and our graphic designer, Shahrzad Horst, was particularly complimented afterwards on the professionalism of the Power Point she had created. It was fantastic and such an honour to win.”

‘Thirteen’, who have also just won the sponsorship ofEllisons Solicitors, is now continuing to develop the ‘Vegimat’ and still has orders pouring in from primary schools which are keen to use the table mat to encourage their pupils to take an active interest in healthy eating. Before the Regional Finals at Queen’s College, Cambridge, on 22nd June, ‘Thirteen’ will be following up interest from companies considering investment in the company and the ‘Vegimat’ and developing the product further by working closely with existing customers. The company website is

The other teams were from The Appleton School, St Mark’s Catholic School, Westcliff High School for Girls, Tendering Technology College. CCHS also provided the winning company at the County Finals in 2009.