Another successful Dragon’s Den at Metro Bank Aylesbury

The Princes Risborough School and John Colet students with the Dragons together after all the pitches were heard at Metro Bank, Aylesbury.

Pupils studying Business from year 9 at Princes Risborough School and Wendover’s John Colet School met up at Metro Bank’s Aylesbury branch on Wednesday, 4th December to present their ideas in a “Dragon’s Den” style contest to four local business professionals.

Joining Michael Anthony Estate Agents’ Senior Partner, Michael Donnachie, as a Dragon was: Matthew Green, Store Manager for Metro Bank in Aylesbury; Lacey Bonham, Community Fundraiser at The Pace Centre; Mary Cope, Head of HR, Learning and Development at The Share Centre.

After 2018’s inaugural event where John Colet pupils competed against one another, this event again featured five teams from across Wendover’s John Colet School and The Princes Risborough School. Each team had a “blank sheet” of paper to incept a new product or service. It was a hotly contested evening which required the Dragon’s business acumen to recognise the opportunities being presented. What was clear was every facet of the new idea had been considered by each of the teams: finance, pricing, marketing, logistics and return on investment.

The ideas presented featured: wearable jewellery, bicycle tyre inserts to prevent punctures, a new way of collecting charitable funds, community focused products using recycled materials and new hair brush. These ideas were incredibly novel, innovative and creative. In the eyes of everyone there, all the entries were winners. The bravery to stand up in front of the Dragons and deliver their presentation was hugely impressive. In return, each of the participating students would learn a huge amount relating to becoming a successful entrepreneur; experience that will help shape their future career potential, objectives and desires.

After lengthy deliberation – which reflects on the outstanding job the students did in presenting – the “Dragons” selected “OneEarth” for their recycled product idea as 2019’s winner. The team from The Princes Risborough School demonstrating an innovative product that was a real head-turner.

Mike Donnachie, who was one of the Dragons’, commented: “It was another fantastic evening. All the ideas were incredibly detailed and incredibly persuasive. I was proud to have been asked to return as a Dragon and I hope together our experiences of life in our collective backgrounds is something that the students can learn from as they move into business. Many business leaders of the future were present in the room, of that I’m sure.”

Head of Business and Finance Studies at The Princes Risborough School, Richard Dannell and Head of Business Studies at the John Colet School, Lee Adams, both introduced their competing teams and they were delighted that their students enjoyed a fantastic experience.

Richard Dannell commented: “All the students, from both schools, can be delighted with their work and the presentations on the night. On behalf of PRS, we’re thrilled we’ve won and hopefully this will give our students extra motivation to see their product turn into reality. Everyone should be encouraged.”

Lee Adams
from John Colet School, remarked: “All the students can be proud of their achievements. Thanks to Heather and the team at Metro Bank for hosting and help to organise, and to the “Dragons” who got involved and helped the event be the success it was. John Colet School is looking forward to competing in 2020.” Local Director for Metro Bank (UK), Heather Wood, summed up the evening: “This was another superb event for local students gaining insight and expertise from professionals who have amassed many years’ experience. At Metro Bank, we are proud to offer community focused initiatives like this to engage and encourage customers, past, present and future to outline what’s possible. The planning for the 2020 event is already underway. We’d love to hear from Bucks based schools who’d like to participate.”