LORD Digby Jones has praised the businesses, schools, colleges and universities across the Midlands taking part in the Walsall Micro-Tyco Challenge 2012.

The four-week initiative, being pioneered by Walsall Council, challenges teams to generate as much money as possible throughout November, starting with just £1 in seed funding from the Wildhearts charity.

Starting on November 1, 39 teams from 13 different organisations are participating.

They include schools, community groups, employers, colleges and the council itself.

Lord Jones believes the skills being developed during the challenge can be vital in helping the Midlands economy grow.

He said: “Employers bringing graduates into their businesses are finding that they have highly intelligent and skilled practitioners. However, the gap we are seeing is in finding people who have the right skills and attitude to generate business.

“Micro-Tyco is the ideal training platform to address this need, demanding people to be creative, to use their imagination, to work their contacts and to leverage the skills of a team to achieve the best results.

“It’s not just for business either. In past years, primary schools have been hugely successful in the challenge, pushing businesses hard and really encapsulating the spirit of business and innovation.

“We also need our next generation of graduates to take part - it is vital for our regional and national economic recovery that we engender a culture of entrepreneurship.”

School, colleges, universities, clubs and companies can enter teams to Micro-Tyco. Each team must have no more than five members but each organisation can enter as many teams as it wishes. Companies compete against companies, schools against schools and universities and colleges against each other, with one winner from each group.

All profits from the challenge are used to fund micro-loans in developing world and provide entrepreneurship and leadership training in the UK.

To date, participating teams have raised over £120,000 in investment capital, funding micro-loans in 24 countries on four continents.

The challenge started on November 1 and teams have one month to turn it into as much money as possible. On November 30 the team with the most money wins. There are only two rules: teams cannot gamble and transactions must be legal.

The money created from Micro-Tyco will be invested by WildHearts in micro-loans to help the world’s poorest people work their own way out of poverty with dignity and self respect.

To learn more about Micro-Tyco, visit wildheartsinaction.org/microtyco