Students from Worthing and Chichester have been crowned area champions in this year's Young Enterprise competition.
Davison High School for Girls was named South Downs best company and Bishop Luffa School won best company for Arun and Chichester in the joint area finals last week.
Michael Mercieca, chief executive of Young Enterprise, said: “The South Downs and Arun and Chichester joint final marks the first stage in a national competition to find this
year’s best Young Enterprise company.
"The winners will go on to compete in the regional final and possibly the UK Final in London in July.
“It's the ultimate measure of many months of hard work from the students, representing their creativity, resilience and business acumen.
"You don’t get this stuff from a text book and we are greatly encouraged by our research which shows that 95 per cent of company alumni go on to education, employment or training - seven per cent higher than the national average of 88 per cent.”
The winners will be representing West Sussex when they compete at the Sussex county finals at Brighton University tomorrow.
The Davison company, Pinnacle, sold unique, hand-made lapel pins, while the team from Bishop Luffa, Willow and Fern, sold hand-made plant pots made from cement and decorated with geometric designs.
The winners beat off stiff competition from the other teams in the finals, British Card Company from Bishop Luffa, Social Gainer from Bishop Luffa, XYZ Speakers from Our Lady of Sion School, Retrospect from Seaford College and Somnium from Davison High.
The company programme has seen more than 14,500 young people aged 15 to 19 set up and run a real business over the academic year.
The students have made all the decisions about their business, from deciding on the company name and product to creating a business plan, managing their finances and selling their products.
Madeleine Mills, Young Enterprise manager, said: “We had some great companies started up by students in the West Sussex area this year and the judges were incredibly impressed with the products and services they had developed and the presentations they gave at the awards.
“The awards highlighted how the Young Enterprise company programme can inspire young people to become the entrepreneurs of tomorrow and help them develop practical
business skills while they are still at school."
Young Enterprise says its research shows company programme participants develop key employability skills.