Wilmslow High School pupils win airport’s Dragon Den-style enterprise competition – and raise thousands for local charities
Students from Wilmslow High School have been recognised by business leaders at Manchester Airport, after they won a Dragons Den-style enterprise competition, beating 14 other schools from across Greater Manchester and Cheshire.
The team made £2,205 profit, taking part in 13 sales opportunities around Manchester and Cheshire with their idea for a “Reindeer and Santa Sweetie Bag,” which contained different coloured sweets in layers to make the familiar faces.
The ‘Grand Final’ was held at the Radisson Blu, Manchester Airport, where competing schools from across the North West pitched their products to the Dragons, presenting a summary of productivity, finance and lessons learnt as a result of the experience.
Paul East, a local entrepreneur from Cheadle Hulme in Stockport, who invented the @KurbyGame supported the event by talking to the students about his enterprise journey and inspiring the next generation.
Each school team was awarded up to £100 as a business set-up loan after an initial pitch of their product to the Dragons, who were made up of representatives from Manchester Airport, WDF, Marriott, Holiday Inn Express, Enterprise Rent a Car, GMP, John Lewis, Singapore Airlines, TransPennine Express and the Airport Chaplaincy.
Products created included wooden laser cut Christmas decorations, headphone hats, baking jars and hot chocolate kits.
A total of £8,700 profit was made by all of the schools who took part, which will be shared between St Ann’s Hospice, East Cheshire Hospice, Francis House and Manchester Children’s Hospital.
The initiative has been taking place since 2009 and £57,200 has been raised during that time.
The Dragons Den Enterprise competition challenged students to develop a Christmas present for family or friends retailing for £5 or less.
The initiative was run by the Manchester Airport Community Network, which is made up of airport employers working together to encourage and support social and economic regeneration of local areas.
The teams set themselves up as a virtual business; design a gift, work out how to manufacture it , purchase materials, market and sell the product and produce accounts. There are opportunities to develop key skills for each team member.
The team from Wilmslow High School won after making the most profit. Other local schools that made it to the finals included Harrop Fold School in Worsley and Co-operative Academy in Higher Blackley, who won prizes recognising skills in presentation and innovation.
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.”
Businesses that are members of the Network provided mentors to each of the participating schools, supporting the teams and encouraging them throughout the process. The mentor for TransPennine Express, Partnership Marketing Manager Lisa Hewitt commented: “I’m delighted to have been involved in this initiative which helps to develop young people and equip them with skills for the future, while raising thousands for some fantastic charities at the same time. I was really impressed with the ideas produced and know that the students put lots of effort into the competition.
“TPE has made a commitment to support communities across the North and has an important role to play in helping develop the next generation of business leaders.”