Young tycoons brave the Dragons' Den

Published: Friday 23rd July 10

A team of enterprising teenagers from Oak Lodge School has scooped first prize in the Wandsworth Interschool Dragons' Den Competition.

Following a tense final, the Dragons awarded Oak Lodge the top prize for their ingenious invention - the 'Deaf World Communicator' - a smart phone 'app' that translates the spoken word into text.

Oak Lodge in Balham is a special school which caters exclusively for hearing impaired children. As winners, the team walked away with a trophy and a cheque for £ 250.

Close runners up were the team from John Paul II School in Southfields who designed the 'TD 2000' - a device that tracks small stickers placed on valuable items.

From a total of 84 entries, nine teams had made it through the heats to claim a spot in the final. Here they faced the most imposing group of Dragons to feature in the competition - Managing Director of Experian QAS Stuart Johnston, Chief Executive at Devereux Architects Nic Allen, Managing Director of BeauBronz Abigail Oleck-Hewett and Director of Operations for Lemon Group Paul Sagoo.

Each team of youngsters overcame their nerves to deliver a confident and professional pitch. Some concentrated on facts and figures, while others acted out short adverts to appeal to the judges' business acumen.

The Dragons did not hold back when it came to asking questions and gave both positive and negative feedback. All teams handled the judges' scrutiny competently, responding knowledgeably and with confidence.

Wandsworth Council's education spokesman Cllr Kathy Tracey said:

" Congratulations to all the teams that reached the final. It's incredibly impressive to see so many business savvy teenagers coming through our schools. The confidence, creativity and insight on display was truly exceptional.

" These young people have very bright futures ahead of them and we must continue to do our bit by providing them with opportunities to develop their enterprising skills."

The nine schools to take part in the final were Graveney, Southfields Community College, Elliott, John Paul II, Salesian College, Ernest Bevin College, Battersea Park, Chestnut Grove and Burntwood. The event was held at Froebel College, Roehampton University on Friday 9 July.

The Wandsworth Interschool Dragons' Den Competition was organised by BEST (Wandsworth Education Business Partnership) and generously sponsored by Experian QAS UK.


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