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Dragons' Den winner backing young entrepreneurs on London council estates

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Dragons' Den winner backing young entrepreneurs on London council estates

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Communities and also in Featured, Finance

Levi Roots Levi Roots

A man whose jerk barbeque sauce product shot to success after being backed by investors on the BBC's Dragons' Den is getting behind a similar scheme for young people on London council estates.

The 'Dragons' put a £50,000 investment into Levi Roots' Reggae Reggae food brand after he serenaded them with his guitar on the show.

Now the entrepreneur is backing a competition aimed at encouraging young people from Westminster council estates to bid for funding for a local community project of their choice.

The ‘CityWest Factor’ competition is being piloted by ALMO CityWest - which manages 22,000 properties in the borough - and is inviting young people aged up to 19 to form project groups and come up with an idea of how they can spend up to £1,500 on a project of their choice.

The teams will consider how their project will work, how it will last, and how it will benefit the local community.

Once the plans have been put in place, each group will be asked to present a business case for their idea to a judging panel, where they will learn if they have been successful in their bid.

It is hoped that the project will encourage young people to get more involved in their local community but also provide an opportunity to develop their creativity, business acumen and pitching skills.

Levi said: “This project is a great idea, as not only could it provide something to benefit the community which has been chosen by the community, but it also provides young people with some invaluable experience for the world of work.

“In taking part, these young people will need to think creatively to make their idea stand out from the crowd.

“They will need to make a good business case, showing how they will get the most out of the investment; focussing on the customer, and taking into account logistics and costs.

“The success of the scheme will not only be judged by the project which is delivered for the community, but by the skills and business acumen that these young people will develop.

“I wish the ‘CityWest Factor’ pilot and its participants well.”

Mark Hoyland, chief executive of CityWest Homes, said: “The project can be absolutely anything that young people would like to see, from dance classes, sports equipment, renovation work, tuition, to an event for the whole community.

“It will be just like walking into the Dragon’s Den for the project teams. They will have to present their case and demonstrate that their idea is worthy of the investment.

“The young people can make their presentation in anyway they choose, from a boardroom PowerPoint display, flip chart and pens, to a Levi Roots inspired guitar performance. They have complete freedom.”

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