An exciting evening for Junior Achievement Isle of Man's Company of the Year Awards

With the slogan 'Your answer to handy candy' and their themed sweet and party bags Ballakermeen High School's team Rejuven8 became Junior Achievement Isle of Man's 2012 Company of the Year.

The students, Katie Banks, Tegan Dixon, Noura Gomaa, Joe Hillard, Sophie Kermode and Chloë Shimmin, will now go on to represent the Island in the JA-YE Europe Company of the Year competition in Bucharest in July.

The event, held at the Palace Hotel, was sponsored by PDMS whose managing director Chris Gledhill presented the Company of the Year trophy, saying 2012 had been 'a vintage year' for the competition with students showing outstanding levels of ambition, innovation and creativity that formed part of 'taking on the adult world'.

Rejuven8 had especially impressed the judges with their clearly set out business accounts and professional presentation delivered without notes. The team's Chloë Shimmin said the Company of the Year challenge had 'helped prepare us for the business world', encouraged them to be self-motivated and offered a learning experience outside of the conventional school curriculum and explained: 'The more involved we became the more we realised just how much work goes into forming and running your own company and although we all had assigned roles, what really helped us was the way we ended up sharing our different strengths.'

In preparation for the competition Junior Achievement staff and volunteer mentors had worked with students from King William's College and Castle Rushen, Queen Elizabeth II and Ballakermeen high schools since September last year to help them formulate and develop their business ideas.

Junior Achievement's chief executive Sue Cook hosted the evening and explained that 29 teams had taken up the challenge and 15 had become finalists. Before the winners were announced she told the students: 'Regardless of whether you win an award tonight you have gained something even more valuable; practical experience that you can draw upon during a job or university interview. And how many young people can say they've run their own business?'

Sue went on to point out that universities and employers recognise the Junior Achievement/Young Enterprise company programme as the top entrepreneurial programme for young people in the UK, with research showing that on average 15 per cent of students completing it go on to become self-employed compared with the national average of six per cent.