Students from Buile Hill Visual Arts College were amongst the finalists from schools across the North West, gathered for a ‘Grand Final’ at the Radisson Blu, Manchester Airport and pitching their products to the Dragons, presenting a summary of productivity, finance and lessons learnt as a result of the experience.
The young Salford entrepreneurs won a prize for the most innovative idea with their glass cheese boards which contained flowers and herbs and which they have been selling at various locations to raise money for St Ann’s Hospice.
The Enterprise Dragons Den 2015 competition challenged students to develop a Christmas present for family or friends, which could be sold for £5 or less.
Each school team was awarded up to £100 after an initial pitch of their product to the Dragons, who were made up of: representatives from WDF, Enterprise Rent a Car, GMP, Manchester Airport, John Lewis, Waitrose and the Airport Chaplaincy.
An overall profit of £14,050 was made by all of the schools that took part, which will be shared between St Ann’s Hospice, Hope House Children’s Hospices and East Cheshire Hospice.
A team of pupils from Priestnall Secondary School, in Heaton Mersey, Stockport, won the overall prize by making the most profit with a record-breaking £4,100.
The Dragons’ Den scheme has been running since 2009 and £48,500 has been raised during that time.
It is run by the Manchester Airport Community Network, which is made-up of airport employers working together to encourage and support social and economic regeneration in communities surrounding the airport.
Businesses that are members of the Network provided mentors to each of the participating schools, supporting the teams and encouraging them throughout the process, along with the initial £100 start-up loan.
The teams set themselves up as a virtual business; designing their gifts, working out how to make them, buying materials, marketing and selling their items and producing accounts.
Wendy Sinfield, Community Relations Manager at Manchester Airport, said: “The Dragons’ Den Challenge develops many skills that will be needed by students as they progress in their journey to the workplace.
“There were some really fabulous ideas and everyone who took part made a significant contribution in completing the challenge and raising thousands of pounds for local charities.
“Although there had to be an overall winner selected, the standard was exceptionally high and on behalf of the Airport Community Network, I hope that all of the students who took part go away having learned a lot about business in a uniquely fun and interactive way.”
Photo: Entrepreneurs (from left) – Holly, Bethany, Chloe, Rebecca, Mathew and Jake