YOUNG business students at an Ellesmere Port college are to have their entrepreneurial skills tested in a challenge.

As part of their course, the business diploma students at West Cheshire College are taking part in the Outstanding Business Student Award organised by ACF Car Finance.

Now in its third year, the competition requires three teams of students, aged 16-18, to devise a workable plan for launching a new business in the Chester area.

This year their challenge is to describe how they would research, set-up and profitably manage a car valetting firm based in the city.

Members of the team putting forward the best proposals will each be awarded a Kindle eReader, while others taking part will receive a £10.00 gift card to spend in a computer store.

As part of their research for the project, the 15-strong group of students spent a day being shown behind the scenes at the headquarters of ACF Car Finance on Chester Business Park.

The company operates a national network of used car dealerships, and the youngsters saw how the group’s many different departments contribute to its business success.

They now have until early spring this year to explain how they would clean-up in a car valetting business intended to serve motorists and corporate customers in Chester.

Judging the students’ efforts will be a course tutor from West Cheshire College, and David Challinor, managing director of The Funding Corporation, parent company of ACF Car Finance.

He said: “Our Outstanding Business Student Award scheme is always enjoyed immensely by the students, but it’s much more challenging than what you see on TV’s Young Apprentice.

“Sir Alan Sugar’s tasks are carried out on the hoof, but we require a lot of very detailed analysis and research to support the students’ business proposals.

“As such, the challenge is a very valuable part of their business studies training as it confronts students with the present-day realities of launching a new enterprise from scratch.

“Just as daunting, but also realistic, is that the groups will have to stand up and present their ideas to the judges - so communication skills also play an important part in the competition.

“We’ve had some amazingly well thought-out proposals to business ideas put forward in previous years, and I’m hoping to be just as astounded this time round.”