From education to employment

Young entrepreneurs at Chellaston Academy pitch their business ideas to Derby companies ‘Dragon’s Den’ style

Young entrepreneurs at Chellaston Academy pitch their business ideas to Derby companies ‘Dragon’s Den’ style

BUDDING entrepreneurs from a Derby secondary school pitched their ideas to leading businesses in a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style format, as they took part in an enterprise day aimed at raising aspirations.

Chellaston Academy welcomed employees from Belper-based chemicals company Lubrizol, Derbyshire Constabulary, award-winning marketing company Macmartin, successful covid start-up Colleague Box and Cosy Direct; a Tutbury-based organisation that sells ethical play equipment to nurseries and councils.

Organised by E4E – a Derby City Council careers initiative set up in 2014 that provides CV Workshops for school pupils and mock interviews – Year 7 pupils were split into small groups and placed with representatives from those businesses participating.

They had to devise a business plan for their product or service, and come up with a presentation that was delivered at the end of the day. The presentation had to include details of how they would finance their product, a marketing plan and poster campaign. They were also tasked with creating a logo and strapline.

Employers from Derby and Derbyshire businesses visited Chellaston Academy as part of the E4E Enterprise Challenge Day. Image: Penguin PR

Peter Ellse, CEO Of Cosy Direct, who were at Buckingham Palace recently to collect their Queen’s Award for Enterprise, said: “It is so positive seeing all these young budding entrepreneurs at one of our city schools. They were full of ideas and could turn a successful business plan around in the blink of an eye.  

“The way that they all used technology to create campaigns was fantastic. I really enjoyed giving back to the community.”

Natalie Bamford, who set up personalised gift box company Colleague Box with husband Adam during the pandemic, turning over £1.3m in just five months, said: “The students were polite, bright and inquisitive. It was a pleasure to visit Chellaston Academy and to see how much the pupils engaged with the activity.”

It was the last activity organised by E4E this academic year and manager Arshad Iqbal is busy planning for more events when schools return in September.

He said: “E4E always has great backing from local employers and it was good to see a variety of both global organisations and Derby-based successful entrepreneurs volunteering at Chellaston Academy.

“We were delighted to welcome many new volunteers, too. Hosting events like the Enterprise Challenge Day is always exciting and we have so many great activities planned for secondary schools from September onwards.

“Through our strong partnerships with employers and local schools we’re fortunate to be able to work alongside and impact thousands of young people each year.

“It is clear from what we saw at Chellaston that there are some hugely talented young people in Derby with great business ideas.

“Seeing the likes of local lads Project D and beauty business Barba, whose founder Sam Lowe was a former Chellaston Academy pupil, have success with their companies is so inspiring to these young people.”

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