Following on from the success of last year’s visit, aspiring entrepreneurs from the National Enterprise Academy, the brain child of Dragons Den Peter Jones, CBE visited Clifton Packaging again this week.

The National Enterprise Academy was tounded in 2009, and each year gives a small number at budding entrepreneurs the opportunity to participate in a specially designed full time course. After one of the most successful and inspirational visits by the first year students in 2009 to Clifton, the NEA and the new term of young entrepreneurs and their tutors once again chose to visit Clifton to find out how the business had started and developed over the last 30 years.

Shahid Sheikh pictured with Ayo Jenyo at winning team Papillon

Shahid Shaikh, Managing Director, Chairman of the Leicestershire branch of the IoD and himself a Leicestershire Business Awards Entrepreneur at the Year said, “Alter the success of last year’s visit and the feedback received I was delighted to be asked to host another Entrepreneurial visit. The students arrived with an eagerness to learn and showed a great interest in our ’rags to riches’ story. The day displayed the benefits of innovative thinking and showed the students how to develop their own entrepreneurial traits. An entrepreneur tends to think outside at the box and is often very unorthodox in his approach which is what makes it even more exciting. Also, a simple lesson to learn is “Don’t follow the Herd as you will just become a part of the Herd, do something different and be noticed” Clifton is proud to be helping these students and of the growing relationship that has developed between us and the NEA.”

The Clifton Directors gave the students a full presentation on the companies’ background and shared with them some at the business lessons that they have learnt over the last 30 years. This was followed by a Q & A session with the Directors, a tour of the facilities and lunch. Current employees John Mobbs and Adrian Akiens also spoke on how they had started their career at Clifton and how their roles have grown within the company. The students also took part in a business challenge organized by the Clifton team, which tested their entrepreneurial thinking. The students were split into 3 groups (Genesis / Papillon / Enigma) and the eventual winners “Papillon” were presented with an award. All the students were also presented at the end at the day with specially made personalised T Shirts to commemorate the day.

Lisa Cooper-Smith, NEA Business and Enterprise Manager said “Students and staff alike had a really great day from start to finish and have been excitedly talking about it since! The visit was so incredibly well organised and fitted with what we had discussed perfectly. Each element of the day had a real value and the students have definitely taken a lot from the experience. The creative touches were also really welcomed, particularly the group photo and the t-shirts which were so generous and a great memento of such a wonderful day!”

With the relationship between Clifton Packaging and the NEA new firmly established, the students have invited the Clifton Directors to attend numerous events that are being held at the academy, such as the upcoming ‘Pitch for Employment’ day. The local firm hopes to continue helping and mentoring these students to reach their potential at the academy and in their future endeavors!


Shahid pictured with Peter Jones at the NEA class of 2010 graduation

9th June 2010


Following on from the success of last year’s visit, aspiring entrepreneurs from the National Enterprise Academy, the brain child of Dragons Den Peter Jones, CBE visited […]