Belfast Telegraph

Newtownbreda High School pupils fly through Dragon's Den challenge

Newtownbreda High School year 7 pupils have put their entrepreneurial skill and business nous to the test by transforming one of their classrooms into their own version of the hit BBC show Dragon's Den.

In an initiative being delivered by Castlereagh Borough Council, twenty-three youngsters aged 15 and 16, have over the past number of weeks formed teams to research and develop their own product ideas and demonstrate how they would manage costs, design, marketing and administration.

Following a tense final, the hunt for Castlereagh's next entrepreneur is now over with 'Find It' crowned overall winners of the Dragons Den initiative. Overcoming stiff competition from four other candidates, the winning team; Luke McCallum, Emma Smythe, Jeffrey Lau and Richard Hamilton were presented with a certificate and a cheque for £250.

'Find It' is a key fob and an intelligent key locating tool which is able to locate lost or stolen keys, wallets or purses worldwide. It also works in reverse and will use intelligent algorithms to track your mobile phone via your keyfob.

The finalists pitched their business proposals to Alderman Jack Beattie MBE, Castlereagh Entrepreneur Philip Bain, Co-Founder of award winning local business Shredbank and business partner James Carson who is also owner of Knockbracken Fuels and members of Castlereagh Borough Council's Economic Development Department.

Speaking after the final, Alderman Jack Beattie, Chair of Castlereagh Borough Council's Economic Development Committee, said: "The Den really developed the best of these youngsters in terms of entrepreneurial spirit. Everyone who entered has been an absolute inspiration and I am proud to be associated with this initiative.

"I have been extremely impressed by the standard of business ideas and I am delighted by the success of the competition.

"I hope it inspires many more young people to follow their dreams into business."

Philip Bain of Shredbank also added: "Being responsible for every aspect of the business and working in teams has given the pupils a genuine insight into how business operates.

"A number of separate business teams were involved in the project which gave an understanding of competition. Pupils learn so much from practical experience and their ideas are very exciting."

Partnership working has been instrumental in bringing the event together, with Castlereagh Borough Council, Newtownbreda High School and local businesses giving their time and expertise to assist students in formulating the best solutions possible.

Ricky Massey Deputy Principal of Newtownbreda High School said: "This initiative has promoted excellent collaborative working between our school, the local Council and local business.

"It helps young people to develop employability and life skills.

"I was extremely impressed with all of our students who took part. Their ideas were innovative and presented excellently with not one of them showing any nerves while facing the dragons.

"It was a pleasure to see our school children take on this challenge with such enthusiasm and skill.

"I congratulate all of the entrants for their hard work. They definitely made it a difficult task for the panel to choose the winners."

The panel rewarded all groups with a financial prize, certificate and a book on business enterprise.

Belfast Telegraph


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