A Lancaster school might well have uncovered the next Lord Sugar, Simon Cowell or Deborah Meaden.
Kids aged 13 and 14 impressed with their entrepreneurial skills as they took on a fearsome panel of business brains in a version of hit BBC show Dragons’ Den.
For their ‘Business Enterprise Day’, Year 9 Our Lady’s Catholic College pupils were split into teams, given a topic and tasked with coming up with a business plan.
They then had to ‘pitch’ their idea to the panel.
Instead of deciding whether to invest in the business like on the TV show, the panel’s job was to give feedback, ask questions and then choose a winning team.
The victors were Grace Williamson, Elizabeth Doherty, Nathan Hegarty, Daniel Duff, Emily Wren and Jasmine Hoyle, who received £15 of cinema vouchers each.
They cleverly named their company ‘GENDEJ’ using the initials of their first names. Their pitch, confidently delivered by 13-year-old Elizabeth, was for an IT business which creates mobile phone software and sells to big name firms like Nokia and Blackberry. Other ideas included teething rings shaped like teddy bears called ‘Teething Teddies’, an online talent contest, a luxury airline, a window cleaning business, a racing car and a chain of diners where singles can find love called ‘Cupid’s Cafes’.
The pupils were asked to explain how they would market and finance their products, come up with a logo, and consider their target audience and pricing structure.
The ‘Dragons’ were DJ and events promoter Steve Middlesbrough, Lancaster Guardian content editor Greg Lambert, Barclays Bank mortgage adviser Claire Penrice, area sessions manager for the NHS blood service Catherine Rumney and Our Lady’s head teacher Brendan Conboy.
Tim Milner, teacher and organiser of the day, said: “How to be an entrepreneur isn’t something you usually get taught at school so it’s great for the students to get to do something different.”