Sheriffs’ London Challenge 2017



Court Assistant and O & E committee member Nicola Manning was proud to be representing the Guild of Entrepreneurs at tonight’s first round heats in the first of the Sheriff’s London Challenge inter-livery annual schools debating competition.

The initiative was led by Sheriff Peter Estlin and supported by the Financial Services Group of Livery Companies and the Guild – albeit a new kid on the block in City terms- was delighted to have been included at the end of last year, in the invitation to participate in this exciting event.

Each of the participating Livery Companies – the Management Consultants, World Traders, Investment Bankers, Actuaries, Chartered Accountants and us Entrepreneurs, put up a London school to present a team of maximum 8 students to produce an 8 minute debate on “What is London’s top priority?”.  The presentation was very much the students’ own work and ideas,  but supported by their teachers and with each Livery company providing mentorship throughout the preparation process and general support and guidance.

The Guild of Entrepreneurs was delighted to be working with our long-standing partners, Aldridge Foundation, whose Founder Sir Rod Aldridge is himself a Freeman Entrepreneur, and who proposed and introduced us to Northumberland Park Community School in Tottenham as our team school and what a fabulous bunch of students they were!

The event was held in the imposing Institute of Chartered Accountants of England & Wales Hall in Moorgate, and the evening began with a welcome and introduction from the ICAEW current President , Hilary Lindsay, together with a short address from Peter Estlin, who welcomed the Judging Panel made up of independent Liverymen and women.

Proceedings then kicked off with some excellently presented and punchy debates from the pupils from each participating school, with some fascinating and rather frightening statistics emerging about, for example, the impact of air pollution on health and absenteeism; London’s chronic social housing shortage; the stark divide between East and West London’s unemployment, housing and health states (the postcode lottery brought into sharp focus) and even a call to action to the Sheriff himself by one of the teams to commission some work to bring about some drastic improvements!

Northumberland Park had been drawn as the last participant of the evening and although we are unashamedly biased, their presentation was absolutely fantastic, particularly given that their team was the youngest by far of all the competitors. In true entrepreneurial style,  and much to the general surprise of the audience and the judges, our Guild’s school definitely had an additional “wow” factor when, part way through the speech, there was some planned heckling from what appeared to be the audience but was in fact a built-in dramatisation from part of the team, presenting another perspective to the arguments being put forward by those team members up on stage.

Sadly, Northumberland Park did not make it to the final two, who now present again before some real life Judges in Court 1 at the Old Bailey on 27th March, but we are nevertheless incredibly proud of them and we look forward to continuing our partnership with this fantastic school and being involved in some entrepreneurial initiatives with them, with a wider pool of our Freemen in the months to come.  And as the entrepreneurs’ team, no doubt they will embrace the fact that “failure is nothing but an opportunity to do it again, but this time, a lot better”!

Our sincere thanks go to the Sheriff Peter Estlin and Dave Payne of ICAEW who co-ordinated the whole project so smoothly and successfully; to Nil Tuptuk and Ali Jaffer on the Northumberland Park teaching staff who worked tirelessly with the team on their presentation over the past few weeks; to Claire Webster, Evaluation Manager at Aldridge Foundation for her support and attendance on the night; to Freemen Joy Merriam and Talan Skeels-Piggins for mentoring the team to ensure their presentation was as polished as it was; and to Court Assistant Nicola Manning who led on this project.–sheriffs-challenge 

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