Schoolchildren from across Dorset were pleasantly surprised as generous ‘Dragons’ provided £300 cash support for companies competing in the Young Enterprise Company Programme at their Dragons’ Den-style events at Poole Grammar School.
The YE Dragons’ Den took place on Thursday 8 February, when nine companies from schools along the Dorset coastline descended on the venues to present to a total of six Dragons. The Dragons came from local businesses and included representatives from larger organisations as well as some notable local entrepreneurs.
The Dragons represented Princecroft Willis, Borough of Poole, Savvy Technologies, Greendale Construction, Humphries Kirk and Steve Mumby. Matt Robson from Borough of Poole, who has been a Dragon for a number of years said, “It was a privilege to attend the Young Enterprise Dragons’ Den event to hear pitches from some exceptional young people. It was a tough decision but Zenti and St Peters Creative’s innovative products really stood out. Their presentations included detailed costings, which was particularly impressive. I wish them every success in their future.”
Mark Robinson from Savvy Technologies, a new Dragon this year, said, “It was great to be part of Dragons’ Den. I was particularly impressed with the level of detail all the teams provided during their pitches. Understanding costs and margin is critical to building credible businesses and the entrants certainly managed to achieve this with ‘knobs-on’.”
Olivia Slater from Barclays supported student company Epiphany, who were lucky enough to get Dragons funding, and said, “Dragons’ Den provided our company with a real sense of achievement, thanks to the Dragons who offered their time to listen to our pitches and reward us respectfully and generously. We are so grateful and will develop on their comments to help aid the future of our company… ”
The Company Programme is the ultimate enterprise experience. It’s a well-respected programme where students are mentored by a business adviser, and set up and run their own real company for over a year. The emphasis is on teamwork and innovation, but participants also gain valuable insight into developing a business plan, finance, market research, product development, marketing, promotion and trading with members of the public. All this comes with expert advice from a local Business Adviser.
Aysha Begum is from HSBC and is the business volunteer for the student company Zenti, a mixed company of students from Bournemouth School for Girls, Winton & Glenmoor Academies and Harewood and Avonbourne Academies, who meet weekly in the Management Suite at Castlepoint. She said, “I have been volunteering with Young Enterprise since October and have been guiding my student company to prepare for Dragon’s Den in recent weeks. It was a great event for the students this year. They surprised themselves with how well they did and managed to secure a successful £50 investment from two dragons. Overall, the event was very beneficial for all students who attended as they were able to perform a pitch, answer questions about their products, and meet other students who are on the same journey as them.”
All eyes will be on the student companies next on 11 May when the companies will compete in the Dorset Final competition and aim to be the one student company selected to progress to the South West Regional Final in June.
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