Six groups of budding entrepreneurs battled it out on Monday (12) as part of a Middlesex University ‘Dragons Den’ style Entrepreneurial Challenge.
16-18 year old students from schools across London were tasked with developing a business plan for a start up company. The top six were then invited to present to a ‘Dragons Den’ style panel made up of business experts including Andy Rubin, CEO of Pentland Brands, which owns brands including Speedo, Boxfresh and Red or Dead.
Student business ideas ranged from recycling crisp packets into keyrings to specialist recycling containers. However, it was a team from Copthall School in Mill Hill which was crowned the winner, after their team presented their business plan for a spot cream called ‘Target’ made from natural ingredients and essential oils, contained in sustainable packaging.
The team - awarded a £2500 prize for their school and £100 vouchers for each team member - was led by their teacher Mrs Leigh Pignatelli, and made up of Divya Jethwa (17), Mercy Acheampong (18), Chelsea Hood (16), Sacha Mapingire (18) and Emel Aydin (16). They impressed the panel with their comprehensive business plan that considered investment, public relations, advertising, market research and product ingredients.
Before pitching to the panel, students completed a workshop in creativity and innovation led by a Middlesex entrepreneurship expert. Teams were also provided with feedback on their business plans.
Students Divyaba Jethwa and Mercy Acheampong said: “It an eventful day, and even though we were really nervous seeing our competition it was great to work as a team with students we would not normally work with in school. We would recommend all future students to enter this competition as it is an invaluable experience. We really enjoyed presenting to the judges and doing something different to everyday school life. The fact we won made it even more special!"
Copthall School teacher Mrs Leigh Pignatelli said: "The experience has truly shown all of the students how the world of business works and this competition has given our students the confidence to realise their potential. It was an amazing event and I would highly recommend more schools to enter next year"
The 27 students invited to Middlesex were from Copthall School; Mill Hill, Haverstock school; Chalk farm, Westminster Kingsway College; Westminster, City & Islington College; Holloway Road and Winchmore school; Enfield.