Young tycoons brave the Dragons' Den

Published: 4 February 2014

Enterprising students from Graveney School won first prize in this year’s Wandsworth Dragon’s Den competition.

All the borough’s schools and colleges were invited to enter teams of 16 to 18 year olds to pitch to a panel of ‘dragons’, and each group was given a business mentor to help them develop their ideas.

The heats were held in December and five groups went through to the finals in January – two groups from Graveney, two from South Thames College and one from St Francis Xavier College.

The three dragons were Simon Ayres from Battersea-based architectural ironmongery company SDS, Harriet Blanchet from national retailers Jo Jo Maman BeBe and Dan Watkins from local law firm Contact Law.

The winning group from Graveney School hit the jackpot with their product Runaway Teen – an alarm clock on wheels with a high-frequency alarm that can only be heard by young people, or those with exceptional hearing. They took home the first prize of £500.

The competition was run by the Wandsworth Business Education Partnership with support from the Putney Rotary Club as part of the Mayor of Wandsworth’s programme of events to provide more opportunities for young people.

The mayor, Cllr Angela Graham, said:

“I believe it is vital that all the borough’s young people get a chance to shine, and should be given every opportunity to develop their skills and confidence. The ideas the students came up with were incredible, and they received some excellent feedback from the Dragons.

“This event showed what a lot of fantastic young business brains we are lucky to have in Wandsworth, and I hope it has given these young people a taste for success and a knowledge of business practice that they will take with them into their adult lives.”

Other projects in the pipeline as part of the mayor’s programme include the Wandsworth Young Chef competition and the Youth Fashion Wandsworth project. Entrants to both competitions will gain valuable help from mentors, with the chance of an apprenticeship for the winners.

The pictures show the winning team, Laura Aimable, Aamina Alidina and El-Hannah Emadago, giving their pitch, and the winners with the dragons and the mayor.