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Young tycoons deliver winning business ideas at college students’ Dragons Den challenge

Judge Beverley Gent from solicitors Churchers with young organisers Melissa Francis, left, Skieon Richardson and Eric Chen at the 10X Challenge event at St Vincent College in Gosport

BUDDING young entrepreneurs were given the chance to pitch their business ideas in a Dragons Den-style challenge organised by sixth form college students.

Four BTEC level 3 business students at St Vincent College in Gosport came up with the idea and were thrilled to see more than 50 GCSE pupils from Bridgemary School in Gosport and Cams Hill School in Fareham present their ideas at the 10X Challenge.

The students, Melissa Francis, Skieon Richardson, Eric Chen and Willow Gaskin, wanted to showcase the college’s business studies course as well as demonstrate that commerce can be enjoyable.

The pupils delivered their pitches via pre-recorded video to the judges, which included business tutors Alison Kent and Iain Sutherland and judge Beverley Gent from Churchers solicitors in Gosport.

“The quality of the pitches was really good,” said Mrs Kent. “There was a really interesting product mix, ranging from a beach game that had ice creams for sale through to a lemonade stand, environmentally-friendly pens and even an idea for financial services. They were all pitched with energy and enthusiasm.”

The students said they were delighted with the response. “We decided to launch this competition because we thought the Dragons Den approach would show that you can have fun in business while giving a useful insight into the business world,” said Melissa.

Skieon added: “By putting together a business pitch it gives you a much better understanding of what it might be like in industry.”

Mrs Kent said she was proud of the students and the work that they put in. “They had to run an event as one of their modules and they had to come up with the idea, judges, sponsorship, the venue and the PR and they took care of all of that and the management on the day,” she said.

“We’ve had very good feedback from the schools who said the students there were really excited about coming up with the ideas. We’re also very grateful to Churchers for sponsoring the prizes of Amazon vouchers and goodie bags.”

Mr Sutherland added: “We are really impressed with the four of them for coming up with this idea, thinking through how it will all work and then persuading us to do it. It’s brilliant how hard they have worked together.”

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