Into the dragons' den
Published by Ben Patey for One Vision Housing in Housing
A school in Merseyside has survived a panel of ‘dragons’ to reach the national final of a competition designed to find young entrepreneurs.
One Vision Housing invited all schools in Sefton to take part in the ‘Starship Enterprise Challenge’ where young people were challenged to come up with business ideas that would benefit their school and/or local community. The aim of the project was to recognise young people’s entrepreneurial skills and prepare them for life after education.
Ultimately, it was St Ambrose Barlow from Netherton and Hawthorne‘s Free School in Bootle that made the regional Sefton Schools Final, held at One Vision Housing’s headquarters on Dunnings Bridge Road.
The young people presented their business idea to a Dragons’ Den style panel which consisted of One Vision Housing Group Executive Chief Executive Roy Williams, Director of Finance and Resources, Tracey Liggett and 22 year old Matt Smith, a tenant of One Vision Housing and successful young entrepreneur in his own right.
The two schools have been working on their business plans and presentations in their spare time for the last few months, something which didn’t go unnoticed by the judges.
One Vision Housing Chief Executive Roy Williams said: “I was extremely impressed by the young people’s professionalism and business acumen. I’m particularly excited about seeing how their ideas develop and we’re looking forward to supporting both schools in the future.”
In a closely fought battle, the two schools were only separated by one point but it was St Ambrose Barlow who will now go through to the national final at Old Trafford in April.
The students plan to use a neglected part of their school grounds as a community market garden space where they can produce year-round organic produce and sell it back to the community through local farmers’ markets. Any profits would be kept within the school.
St Ambrose Barlow Deputy Headteacher Anthony Millington said: “I’m extremely proud of the students that took part and we’re all delighted that we’ve made the national final.”
The overall winner will have the opportunity to receive support and gain funding to develop their idea further.
The Starship Enterprise Project is supported by The Airport Group – an informal alliance of 14 like-minded, stock transfer housing associations in the North West.