Our Way Trade Experiment was created in January 2013 by a group of year 10 students at Plymstock School following a challenge set by Real Ideas Organisation: “To create a social enterprise that encourages the use of languages in your school”.
Our Way is an agency set up to promote and support local businesses in the South West with the objective of increasing sales across the UK, but also to introduce their partners’ products and services to the French market. The team are truly committed to making an impact through business, both economically and socially in southwest UK and Brittany in northwest France, whilst proving to young people that learning a language is much more than just passing an exam – it’s a life skill that will give them the best possible footings for their future.
Since its inception, Our Way has undergone a branding process, created a host of marketing materials, attended local events and researched and engaged local businesses whilst generating positive media coverage through newspapers, magazines, radio and a local news channel!
Joe, the Business Development and Account Manager explains Our Way as he sees it:
“Our Trade Experiment Company, Our Way, is designed to provide local businesses in the South West with opportunities that will directly impact their sales and business performance in the UK, but also introduce their businesses, goods or services to the French market. We have a very strong identity and have worked really hard to develop a ‘style guide’ so that the businesses that we work with know and understand our image and we can work with companies in the South West that fit our style. These four style guides are that each company must be based in the South West and completely traceable, have products or services that are unique, quirky and fresh, with products or services that are of high quality and are ethical with a vintage renewal flavour.”
The first companies to sign up as Our Way Partners are The Cornish Crisp Company, Bloomberry Juice, Blue Horyzon, Sarah Drew and the Traditional Surf Company.
“It is a great pleasure to work with such an enthusiastic group of students and also to be introduced and to work with RIO. As a fairly new company, we have fou nd this a useful and interesting exercise as a focus for Bloomberry – creative in every way!” Sarah Jones – Bloomberry Juice
The products and services of these businesses formed the base of the meetings where the students presented the products an introduced them to the French Market.
In July 2013, the group took themselves on a business trip to France, which saw the team attending several inspirational meetings with associates in Brest. The meetings were not simply to share the Our Way vision, but to establish strong business partnerships which would enable the agency to promote the products and services of its partners.
The meetings were aided by Pauline Perdriaux, European Cooperation Officer. Over the three busy days we met with Bureau Information Jeunesse – Mrs Michèle Casu, B-New project – Mrs Gaëlle Vigouroux (Entreprendre au Féminin) and Ms Aline Chever, High School Lycée Le Kreisker – Ms Claudine Guillerm, Head of Department International Division of Exchange and Cooperation – Julie Nuyts and Deputy Lord Mayor of Brest – Reza Salami.
Lauren Peel, Project Manager for Our Way said:
“To have the opportunity to make a real difference, to use the language that we learned in our classroom in a real situation and to be able to help real businesses in the South West was amazing! I didn’t think it possible that we could schedule meetings with so many important people; it is something I will never forget. To be able to communicate in their language made me really proud. All the meetings left me, as an onlooker, overwhelmed by the passion, professionalism and commitment that the Our Way team harnessed. The speed and high energy in which they thought and delivered was so impressive, and the confidence to deliver it in another language was truly inspiring.”
Robin, French Connections and Interpretor said:
“We are very proud of our region, and of the products and services that its small businesses produce. International trading doesn’t only showcase a single business and its products or services, but it also showcases the region in which they stand and what that region has to offer. I speak French fluently, and am really excited to think that by using a very real and purposeful business concept, we will encourage and develop languages for our peers. By understanding other languages and cultures, we understand our own and appreciate the differences.”
RIO Schools Service
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