Here at Norwich School, we are proud of our Young Chamber, which gives entrepreneurial pupils the opportunity to set up their own company and experience the highs and lows of business. We hear from Imie James, U5, about the inspiration for her enterprise idea…
“I initially started my book fold craft work in 2019 as a charity venture, donating all the proceeds of items sold to charity. In doing so, I raised over £150 for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital and East Anglian Children's Hospice (EACH).
I feel very passionate about helping children who are having a difficult time in life. I have always enjoyed crafting because it is a way I can help people and cheer them up. It is also great for my own well-being, as it allows me to de-stress and relax away from the demands of my schoolwork, as well as being a hobby which sparks conversations with my family and friends - a great catalyst for happy chats and the sharing of ideas!
During the first Covid-19 lockdown, in March 2020, I extended my idea further, wanting to let people in my local community, particularly those living alone know that they were not on their own in the difficult and isolating times we found ourselves. I wanted to make them smile, hence Send a Smile was launched. I have since delivered many items secretly to people including Easter hedgehogs, Valentine hearts and Christmas trees and cats. During Christmas 2020 I raised a further £91 for EACH as part of the Brooke House Charity event. In addition, I made over 30 masks for people in my local area to help them with the global pandemic and knitted 19 pairs of hearts for Covid patients during the first lockdown; the idea was to give one to the patient and one to their loved ones, so that despite being apart they could feel near to each other.
The products I make are all or partly made from recycled items such as books and lids, which I have deliberately chosen as I am passionate about helping the environment. Recycling, reusing, and repurposing is a way that I can do this, hopefully making a difference and ‘sending smiles’ all round!
Due to the ongoing constraints of the pandemic, the 2021 Christmas holiday was different for many people again and as I don't like the thought of anyone being lonely, I made and delivered some more Christmas Cats. Hearing they made people smile brought me much joy and happiness!
In 2020, I joined the school Young Enterprise Group to continue my venture. As many people have shown an interest in my craft products, I felt that it was time to also launch Send a Smile as a business. I am really enjoying this opportunity and are very grateful to Mr. White for his constant support, help and guidance with my venture. As I still feel passionately about wanting to make people smile and to make a difference by helping others, I will continue to donate 10% of my profits to charity along with continuing to make items for charity events where I will donate all monies raised.
I have been overwhelmed by the support, positive comments, and encouragement I have received and hope to continue to 'Send Smiles' for many years to come!”