ANDOVER’S Youth MP is set to launch an exciting new project which will see business-savvy young people across the borough take part in an Apprentice-style contest.

Dmitrijs Meiksans, Member of Youth Parliament (MYP) for North West Hampshire, is proposing to launch the Youth in Test Valley Awards. 

Speaking to the Advertiser, Dmitrijs said: “I know it’s another awards scheme, but the key thing here is we are going to find the next business leader in Test Valley.”

He added that it will be a “Dragons' Den-style activity” where “young people can be nominated and they submit a future business that they would like to run".

Once the nomination period is complete, the young people will be invited to an initial meeting to discuss the process. They will each submit a business proposal followed by several rounds, in a similar vein to popular TV show The Apprentice, where contestants will be cut after each task. 

At the end of the process, there will be a live finale in which judges, family, friends and the general public will be invited to watch the young people complete an activity, set on the day. 

Dmitrijs said: “It will be testing leadership skills, communication skills, ability to overcome challenges, and thinking outside the box.”

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The winning young person will get £500 in investment for their business idea, and a 12-month mentorship from a local business.

The idea forms part of a newly-established Community Interest Company (CIC) set up by Dmitrijs, entitled Bringing Andover Together.

Dmitrijs said: “I run a business and I probably could have used that £500 investment! To have been able to get access to these contacts has made it so much easier, so why not give other young people that opportunity to flourish?

“There are budding entrepreneurs who are 14, 15, 16 who would love to start a business, but there’s not enough support. It will almost be a showcase of the amazing talent among our young people in the borough.” 

Currently, Dmitrijs is working to secure funding and sponsorship for the scheme, with the hope of working jointly with multiple groups including the Andover BID, Chamber of Commerce, local councils, town businesses, and charities to bring it all together. 

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Should all go to plan, the pilot scheme would start from mid-August, with the grand finale taking place before the end of the year. 

It is intended that the scheme will be open to young people from Years 9 to 13.

Dmitrijs continued: “Hopefully it will be a really positive thing for the community. We will be empowering young people to stay in Test Valley. The opportunities here are endless, and if it goes well here, who is to say we can’t do it elsewhere.”

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