Student entrepreneurs aiming to bring space-saving convenience to small kitchens impressed judges in an annual business competition for schools.

Team New Era from Emmanuel College, Gateshead, came up with The Easy Weigh, a multi-purpose chopping board made from polypropylene and silicone with built-in scales and knives.

Their idea and presentation saw them shortlisted at the annual Emmanuel Schools Foundation (ESF) Business Game, a challenge set over a week in which teams have to establish a business, develop a product or service having done market research and then present to a panel of judges.

Three Year 9 teams from each of the four ESF schools took part – Emmanuel College, Bede Academy, Blyth, Trinity Academy, Doncaster and The King’s Academy, Middlesbrough, which also hosted its sister schools in the final.

The businesses had to demonstrate commercial awareness by working out finances, develop ideas for a website and other marketing, consider sales and distribution, and show corporate social responsibility by choosing a charity to receive a share of profits.

New Era said they would donate to Gateshead Foodbank.

The winners of the competition were from Bede Academy, whose shopping device Pro-Scan logs the expiry date of purchased food then sends text alerts to warn of produce nearing its use-by date, along with recipe ideas for how to use it.

The other teams from Emmanuel College were Fenix with their Optix bike light, which projects a coloured ‘no entry’ box onto the road around a cyclist to protect them from passing vehicles, and La Femme D’Affaires, whose Pro-Pup range of dog bowls was aimed at reducing obesity in pets.

Adam Cooper, head of business, IT and economics at The King’s Academy, who organised the final, said: “I have been thoroughly impressed by the creativity, thought and preparation shown by all the businesses.”

John Inglis-Jones, executive officer at Anglican International Development, who was accompanied by fellow judges Debbie Schofield, from ESF, and Ruth Watson, from Middlesbrough Football Club’s Enterprise Academy, added: “I know from many years working in corporate finance that it isn’t easy to come up with a concept, work out the finances and get an idea under way. Everybody did extremely well and the standard was very high.”