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About the Programme

Future Business Magnates is a business planning competition for secondary schools. It has been established for over seventeen years in County Durham and has grown from modest beginnings to a competition that now involves the majority of schools within the County.

Benefits For Students

By immersing students in an exciting programme that spans the academic year Future Business Magnates will:

  • Introduce students to the excitement of working in their own business
  • Broaden understanding and knowledge of job roles and functions
  • Introduce students to possible career pathways
  • Develop communication, presentation and research skills
  • Assist with study choices
  • Introduce new ways of working
  • Develop creativity
  • Introduce the world of work, commerce, industry and business
Enterprise option 2 (1)

Benefits For Schools

FBM assists schools to deliver an understanding of enterprise, creativity and key skills, by providing a mechanism for schools to encourage entrepreneurial attainment and to promote social and economic awareness.

Future Business Magnates offers teachers an opportunity to expand their skills base and experience. It appeals to teachers who have an interest in enterprise or being enterprising within their role.

The FBM process can also encourage inter-departmental cooperation within schools. As the competition progresses teams are required to work on a variety of challenges. Each challenge will be greatly enhanced if students are able to work with a range of teachers who have varied skills.


Benefits For Businesses

Future Business Magnates introduces businesses to the world of education and provides a focus for developing corporate and social responsibility through a structured programme. The programme offers businesses an opportunity to help young people develop their employability skills and appeals to businesses that are interested in helping the next generation.

Many businesses have reported the benefits of FBM as a tool in their staff development programme and have found it provides a method to enthuse young people about potential careers in their industry.


Benefits For Parents

Future Business Magnates not only introduces pupils to the processes of starting an exciting business venture but also gives parents valuable insights into how their child is engaging with the world of work. Because the FBM experience allows children to be imaginative and inventive, as well as encouraging them to challenge their peers they can develop analytical skills and understand the benefits of teamwork and collaboration.

Parents can collaborate with children on their Future Business Magnates project, this allows parents and children to work together and develop a business idea which will give parents an added opportunity to explore the work their children are undertaking and have an insight into a business start-up for themselves.

On some occasions, parents have become an integral part of the development of the business ideas adding their experience to that of business partners and supporting their children in what is a new and exciting project for them which can yield remarkable results.


Ready to join the Future Business Magnates Programme?

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who can join the FBM Programme?

    Any secondary school within County Durham can join the programme. Each team is made up of up to eight students from Year 8.

    The team may be supported by additional students within the school, but only the team of 8 students can participate in the Challenge events as part of the competition.

    Each school will be allowed to include a Year 9 Mentor as part of their team of 8 students if they wish. The mentor will assist in the development of the challenges and final presentation. This Year 9 will bring enthusiasm, experience and guidance to the team.

  • When does the programme run?

    The competition launches each January and runs through to the end of June.

  • How is the programme delivered?

    This year the competition will be delivered online through a dedicated website portal. There are 6 challenges in total. Challenges comprise of video tutorials and classroom-based activities. Teams are required to develop a business idea and plan as the competition progresses with regular update reports submitted after each challenge.

    Each school is awarded points following each challenge which are displayed on a league table. At the end of the competition, the winners and runners up are declared and receive prizes. Prizes are also awarded to teams that have excelled in individual challenges and activities.

  • How can I get involved as a business partner or supporter?

    The role of the business partner is to ‘mentor’ the team and share their business expertise. The minimum expectations of a business partner are:

    • A named employee (ideally 2 employees) who will act as a mentor for ‘their’ team.
    • A willingness to share business skills and experience, and to welcome the team into the business, involving colleagues as and when appropriate.

    Additionally, Business Partners may also:

    • Attend meetings at the business or school premises with their team and teacher.
    • Take phone calls and e-mails from teachers, offer advice and guidance, and contribute to the development of the team’s proposals/challenge submissions.
  • How can I contact the FBM team?

    Email [email protected] and a member of the team will contact you.

About the Organisers

Business Durham is the business support service for Durham County Council, helping to deliver more and better jobs and a strong competitive economy.
It is a knowledgeable and trusted guide, which connects businesses with the right funding, advice, and networks they need to grow and thrive.

Business Durham works closely with partners to encourage an enterprise culture, helping entrepreneurs to turn bright ideas into successful reality and students to develop enterprise skills to become our future business leaders.

The organisation manages a portfolio of business property and excels in finding the right space for businesses to grow – commercial office space, modern laboratories and industrial property units.

Business Durham attracts capital and inward investment to the county and develops an innovative economy that enables companies to grow and flourish.

Business Durham builds long-term relationships to foster sustainable growth in businesses, raising economic aspirations and making Durham a place where business is done.

Find out more at

Ready to join the Future Business Magnates Programme?

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