Entrepreneurial students at six schools are taking part in a Dragons’ Den-style contest for the chance to scoop a prize package of £25,000.
Teams from Crofton Academy, Castleford Academy, Outwood Grange Academy, Ossett Academy, Wakefield Girls’ High School (WGHS) and Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, all in Wakefield, will go head to head in the final of the WGHS Young Entrepreneur of the Year competition.
The contest aims to encourage entrepreneurialism in 11 to 14-year-olds, instil them with confidence in their ideas and help them with option choices for further education and ultimately the world of work.
Each team was asked to create a new product – goods or a service. They then presented their ideas during internal school heats, covering issues such as marketing, price and promotion.
The groups that make it through to the final will then face the nerve-racking task of pitching their ideas to a panel of successful entrepreneurs – just like on the popular BBC2 show.
And the winners will be rewarded with support from local businesses, worth a whopping £25,000, to take their product to market.
The project is the brainchild of David Eggleston, deputy head at WGHS and Wakefield businessman Ian Taylor.
Mr Eggleston said: “Countries such as the UK can no longer rely on traditional product markets to create wealth and jobs.
“Rather they are likely to need to innovate and explore new opportunities, especially in niche markets and with higher value products.
“There is no better place to initiate this process than in schools.”
The judges are Mr Taylor, owner of Media Displays in Wakefield; Kathryn Wood, owner of Mint Beauty Salons and previous participant of Dragons’ Den; and Dimple and Vikesh Patel, Merchant Bankers in London turned managing directors of Love Coffee.
The final at WGHS on February 28 will involve a full-day event of pitches followed by an evening award ceremony.
Businesses involved include Barclays Bank, Media Displays, Alchemy Research, Green Communications, The Small Agency and Beaumont Legal.