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Your Borough Of Poole

Young Enterprise students face the Dragons!

Young people from schools across Dorset faced up to a panel of fearsome Dragons last week as they competed to secure funding for their Young Enterprise businesses.

Held at Barclays House in Poole, the event saw 11 teams make a three-minute pitch to a panel of local business representatives. Each Dragon was tasked with selecting a company to receive £50 of funding towards developing their business, which varied from new apps to clothing lines, and family games to beauty products.

Panel of dragons

The panel of Dragons was made up of Craig Dunn from accountants Newton Magnus, Cllr Elaine Atkinson, Leader of the Council at Borough of Poole, Jonathan Sherman of Humphries Kirk solicitors, Julie Shaw, Marketing Manager at Hamworthy Heating, Mark Johns from accountancy firm Princecroft Willis and Timothy Branch of investment company BNY Mellon.

Students taking to the stage came from schools across Bournemouth and Poole, and as far afield as Gillingham. A total of 23 schools are participating in the Young Enterprise Company programme this year, which sees students find out what it’s really like to set up and run a business, from raising the initial share capital through to designing their product or service, selling directly to customers and ultimately winding up the company and paying their taxes. 

After a hard-fought series of pitches, each team was presented with a certificate to mark their participation in the event, before the Dragons revealed their chosen businesses. The winning companies were:

  • Craig Dunn – Distinction
    • Distinction is made up of 12 students from seven different schools, including Winton Arts & Media College, Poole Grammar, Parkstone Grammar, Harewood, Poole High School, Talbot Heath and St Edwards. The team were seeking funding to develop their line of reflective clothing, which currently features hats knitted using reflective yarn
  • Cllr Elaine Atkinson – funding split between Young Minds Alike and Cortex
    • Young Minds Alike attend Poole High School and are seeking to publish a book of inspirational quotes aimed at young people
    • Members of Cortex come from St Edwards. Their business is selling a ‘Cabin in the Woods’ kit, which contains seeds for families to plant their own tree and watch it grow along with their family
  • Jonathan Sherman – Shahdi
    • The 14 members of Shahdi attend five schools comprising Parkstone Grammar, Talbot Heath, Poole Grammar, Harewood and St Edwards. Their funding will help develop their Festival Finder app which allows music-lovers to search and compare festivals
  • Julie Shaw – Cherrie
    • Glenmoor & Winton students make up Cherrie, whose eco-friendly soap ball and sponge product earned them £50 funding
  • Mark Johns – Cherrie
    • Cherrie impressed so much with their pitch and product they were successful in gaining funding from a second Dragon
  • Timothy Branch – Enigma
    • Enigma, which is made up of students from Lytchett Minster School, are working on developing and marketing a new music trivia game for all the family to play
Cllr Elaine Atkinson, Leader of the Council, Borough of Poole, said: “My fellow Dragons and I were hugely impressed by the quality of the presentations, and the enthusiasm and passion shown by the students for their business ideas. It was very difficult to choose which business to back, but in the end I felt both Young Minds Alike and Cortex had fantastic product ideas. I wish them every success in developing their business further.”

Chris Lincoln, Young Enterprise manager complimented the students on their achievements so far, saying: “Since the launch of their companies in October, these young people have fast tracked their learning in business, and with support from their volunteer advisers, have created some amazing ideas and turned them into real business propositions”.


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