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Cumbria’s MPs had their own Question Time session online with primary school pupils to launch the 2022 Bright Stars business challenge programme that challenges the tiny tycoons to ‘make a profit and make a difference’ running their own social enterprise businesses.

Local MPs Mark Jenkinson (Workington), Tim Farron (Westmorland & Lonsdale), Neil Hudson (Penrith and The Border), and Simon Fell (Barrow & Furness) all took questions on Friday from schools in their constituencies about how they support communities and lead change. Copeland MP Trudy Harrison unfortunately had to pull out of her session at the last minute, but hopes to rearrange her online Q&A with schools in the constituency.

Questions ranged from ‘Why did you become an MP?’ and ‘What’s the best part of your job?’ to ‘How do you make a difference?’, ‘Are you friends with Boris Johnson?’ and ‘Have you met the Queen?’

A record more than 60 primary schools across Cumbria are taking part in the Bright Stars 2022 which partners pupils across Cumbria with local businesses to run their own mini social enterprises designed to ‘make a profit & make a difference’to something that matters to the children.

Now in its tenth year, Bright Stars was co-created by the Centre for Leadership Performance in partnership with businesses to nurture a culture of aspiration, leadership and enterprise amongst primary school pupils. It has been hugely successful with than 1,500 pupils taking part last year.

Each school is given £50 in ‘seed money’ to start their social enterprise businesses which start trading on Tuesday May 3rd and must complete the challenge on Friday June 24th.

Causes and campaigns the children chose to support and champion in 2021 ranged from improving road safety, encouraging recycling and welcoming wildlife to reaching out to support lonely people and the homeless.

Organised and project-managed by CforLP and delivered and funded in partnership with local businesses, the programme has delivered huge benefits for children by enriching the school curriculum spanning subjects including English, maths, science and art, while giving them the chance to be leaders and encouraging the children to ‘dream BIG’.

The programme is supported by Sellafield Ltd and BAE Systems which encourage their supply chain partners to take part by advising and guiding the children as they create businesses designed to ‘make a difference’ to something that matters to them. Cumbria Community Foundation also provides funding to encourage more charities and micro businesses to take part and connect with the young entrepreneurs in their communities.

CforLP Executive Director Sarah Glass explains: “For the children connecting directly with their local MPs is a huge bonus and boosts their confidence and engagement with the programme. The Bright Stars collaboration with Cumbrian businesses and organisations brings them closer to their local communities and the youngsters who are their future workforce. Their support also helps to fund the programme, which is encouraging the leaders of tomorrow.”

The eight-week programme introduces Cumbrian primary school pupils to leadership, social entrepreneurship and teamwork and gets them excited about the world of business in a fun accessible way. It enables children to meet positive role models and raises their aspirations and awareness of local careers, provides leadership opportunities and encourages young people to make a positive impact in their local communities.

Learn more about how businesses support Bright Stars and why companies take part at or contact Claire Johnson at