Cousins Michael and Ben Dyer are the driving force behind The Inspirational Learning Group, which provides real-life business challenges and competitions to young people, as well as developing bespoke programmes and event managing events all over the country. They are also the co-founders of the UK’s largest Enterprise and Employability competition, The National Enterprise Challenge (TNEC). Since 2013 the Stoke-on-Trent born cousins have seen their challenge work with 300,000 students nationwide, often from deprived areas. The competition sets real-life business challenges to secondary school students and sees each school that takes part send their winning team to a National Finals, which in 2020 is at the ICC in Birmingham. The day in the school focuses on skills such as teamwork, communication and leadership and all of their work is closely linked to the Gatsby Benchmarks.
The Challenges have been backed by some of the UK’s largest companies with Air Products, Grenade, Ryman, UCFB, The F.A, Natwest, Gandys and Alton Towers all having set challenges for the students in recent years. In 2013 the TNEC challenge ambassador was Lord Sugar and from 2014 -2019 former Dragon and Retail entrepreneur Theo Paphitis had fronted the challenge. In 2020 the challenge main ambassador is Nick Jenkins, founder of Moonpig.
The Cousins have also won awards for their work, picking up ; Most Enterprising Learning Product at the SFEDI and Institute for Enterprise and Entrepreneurs awards (2015), Social Enterprise Entrepreneurs of the Year at The Great British Entrepreneur Awards (2016), Best New Business at The Shropshire Chamber of Commerce Awards (2017),Young Entrepreneurs of the Year at the Sentinel Business Awards (2018), Sentinel Top 100 inspiring and influential list (2020)
The guys have also teamed up with Sports Interactive and Staffordshire Universities Digital Institute (London) to set the National Skills Challenge in 2020 with college-aged students and they are also providing a lot of support to NCOP groups with University Outreach and bespoke business challenges and projects for companies and authorities alike.
Prior to this, the duo were also the youngest deliverers of the government start up loans helping over 150 businesses in the midlands region access over £1 million in start-up funding.
They now have a team of 15 full-time staff and 40 contract staff working on their projects and they aim to work with a further 60,000 students this year alone. They are no strangers when it comes to entering awards and reading business plans and they are looking forward to judging this year’s Great British Entrepreneur Awards.