DACA students' ingenious idea gets thumbs-up from Dragon’s Den star Peter Jones


A TEAM of young Darwen entrepreneurs came runners-up in a national enterprise competition run by Dragon’s Den star Peter Jones.

The students from Darwen Aldridge Community Academy were told during a ceremony for the Tycoon in Schools competition at Buckingham Palace this week.

The students impressed judges with their company, Moments, a photo booth business that used Polaroid cameras to produce instant images for keyrings and magnets.

Team member Joshua Southworth, 13, said: “We enjoyed spotting a business opportunity, working as a team and the chance to trade as a real business with real money.

“We learned that in order to succeed in business you need to be determined to succeed, work well as a team and learn from your failures.”

Speaking at the awards ceremony, Mr Jones, who has been ever-present on the BBC show since its launch a decade ago, said: “I was delighted to announce the winners of Tycoon in Schools at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace this afternoon with The Duke of York.

“The standard was so high this year.

“All of the teams have worked so hard and I have been bowled over by their enthusiasm and achievements throughout the competition.”

Tycoon in Schools challenges schoolchildren from all over the UK to develop their own real-life businesses.

After pitching an idea to their teachers, they receive a loan of up to £1,000 from the Peter Jones Foundation to get their companies up and running.

They then raise as much profit as possible during a seven-week trading period, before submitting a final evaluation report to a panel chaired by Mr Jones himself.

The judges consider profitability, teamwork, business concept, sustainability and community engagement.

DACA assistant principal Michelle Billington said: “We were really impressed with the students’ commitment to their business and being able to repay the loan, the passion they displayed and their willingness to do whatever it took to make their business a success.

“They have learned about the importance of organisation, time management and to keep going even when things get tough, all essential life skills.”

Peter Jones founded Phones International Group in 1998, providing mobile cellular solutions to a broad range of clients. By 2003 the telecoms group was identified as the 13th fastest growing business in The Sunday Times/Virgin Atlantic UK Fast Track League Table in 2003.

Today he employs more than 1,000 people across 40 firms.


- Lancashire Telegraph