Cousins Michael and Ben Dyer are the driving force behind the UK’s largest Enterprise and Employability competition, The Ryman National Enterprise Challenge. Since 2013 the Stoke-On-Trent born cousins have seen their challenge work with 140,000 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. The day in the school focuses on skills such as teamwork, communication and leadership.
The Challenge has been backed by some of the UK’s largest companies with Ryman and Alton Towers both having set challenges for the students in recent years. In 2013 the challenge ambassador was Lord Sugar and from 2014 onwards former Dragon and Retail entrepreneur Theo Paphitis has fronted the challenge.
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 in 2015. In 2016 they were also awarded Social Enterprise Entrepreneurs of the Year at The Great British Entrepreneur Awards and in 2017 they won Best New Business at The Shropshire Chamber of Commerce Awards.
As well as running The National Enterprise Challenge, the guys have also teamed up with Natwest to start the National Skills Challenge with college aged students and they are also providing a lot of support to Universities outreach teams by delivering their programmes and also writing bespoke workshops to fit the required project brief.
The lads 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 working on their projects and they aim to work with a further 50,000 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.