A syndicate of 15 business angels saw potential in a Swansea-based company that provides a comprehensive learning and development solution for primary school age children and so completed a £400,000 investment to help the company grow.
In 2016, award-winning Enterprise Educator and founder Sue Poole wanted to establish a community where school pathways and future career choices for all young people are equally valued and respected.
Her mission looked to bring enterprise to life for children by inspiring and educating them in readiness for their future, and so, 2B Enterprising was born.
Launching the first bilingual enterprise skills programme in Wales
When 2B Enterprising was created, Sue was able to launch the Bumbles of Honeywood enterprise skills programme thanks to a £400,000 syndicate investment led by Angels Invest Wales’ Ashley Cooper.
The 15-strong syndicate of business angels made two consecutive funding rounds; the syndicate invested £275,000 and the Development Bank of Wales’ Angel Co-investment Fund added £125,000.
The equity investment was used for a series of appointments, including Jayne Brewer as Chief Executive, as well as scaling-up activity by launching the Bumbles of Honeywood programme.
As Wales’ first bilingual enterprise skills programme, Bumbles of Honeywood teaches children from the ages of five to eight about enterprise, entrepreneurship, and essential life skills.
Through illustrated books and interactive extension activities, the programme explores the enterprising nature of honeybees to help children develop skills such as resilience, problem solving, leadership, communication, and teamwork. Additionally, the resources touch on a wide range of current topics including sustainability, wellbeing, diversity and inclusion.
Developed by business leaders and experienced educators, with input from teachers, the Bumbles of Honeywood programme features a series of illustrated books, and over 120 activities that enhance the teacher’s ability to improve the numeracy, literacy, digital and physical education skills of their pupils, alongside developing an enterprising mindset.
Primary schools who apply for the resources are also partnered with local businesses who provide insights from their own organisation to elevate children’s learning experience further.
It is linked to the Four Purposes of the new Curriculum for Wales and is suitable for a range of abilities so teachers can identify the most suitable resources to satisfy their class’s learning outcomes.
“Our vision is a community where school pathways and future career choices for all young people are equally valued and respected,” said Sue.
“With the support of the Development Bank and our syndicate of business angels, we hope to reach out to so many more youngsters initially across the UK, and then abroad, to help them grow into capable, healthy, well-rounded individuals who will become ambitious, resourceful and successful adults.”
At the time of investment, more than 20 schools were part of a 24-month pilot programme to help develop life skills and future aspirations. The programme was funded by a unique Corporate Engagement Partnership Programme (CEPP) with local and national businesses partnering with schools to bring real life enterprise experience into the classroom.
Carol Hall, of Angels Invest Wales, said: “Encouraging young people to become enterprising is an important step in helping to unlock the longer-term potential of our economy and create opportunity for all.
“2B Enterprising captured the hearts and minds of a syndicate of business angels who all recognise the value of syndicate investments and the extra firepower they can bring to companies looking to scale-up.”
First year milestone
In October 2022, 2B Enterprising celebrated its first anniversary as a company and have expanded swiftly having grown from a team of two to 10 employees in just six months.
Moreover, the organisation engaged with more than 6,000 primary schoolchildren in over 136 schools, while delivering more than 220 classes across Wales and England in its first 12 months of trading.
They engaged with more than 90 corporate partners in various sectors, ranging from construction, hospitality, finance, technology, retail to tourism.
By working alongside businesses such as Bluestone Resorts, Sony, Safety Letterbox Company and CK Foodstores, 2B Enterprising were able to support even more schools across south Wales.
“We had a fantastic first year in business at 2B Enterprising,” said Sue.
“I was overwhelmed by the appetite from businesses to support schools in their local areas and beyond by providing the funding for them to receive The Bumbles of Honeywood programme.
“We had excellent feedback from the schools that we visited on how children have grown in confidence, increased their knowledge of enterprise and improved their teamworking skills at the same time.”
Looking ahead to their second year, Sue is keen to branch even further afield to make a difference to schools across the country.
“We move into our second year with excitement and confidence as we roll out the programme further into all areas of Wales and across the border into the south of England and the Midlands.
“We had a great deal of interest from schools and businesses further afield and we’re looking forward to making more meaningful partnerships between schools and businesses.”
Sue’s ambition is to expand 2B’s support of primary schools across the UK, with an aim of working with over 2,500 schools over the course of the next three years. Watch this space…