Dragons Den

18 April 2016

Maelor’s budding young entrepreneurs take on the ‘Dragons’

A group of budding business brains from a local comprehensive school put their entrepreneurial skills to the test at a Dragon Den style event with Wales’ largest building society.

The BITC Cymru initiative saw over 120 Welsh Baccalaureate  students from Maelor Comprehensive School work in groups to pitch their business start-up ideas to volunteers from Principality Building Society and Legal & General, who played the role of the ‘Dragons’, in a bid to win support for their enterprising ideas and gain worthwhile business advice along the way. 

The event, which was jointly organised by both organisations and Business in the Community (BITC) Cymru, is designed to give the aspiring entrepreneurs an opportunity to put into practice some of the theory they have learnt from their studies.

After six weeks of market research and business planning the students were asked to pitch their ideas to the Dragons – their potential investors. Experiencing what life would be like in the real business world, the students faced questions from the Dragons to test how they plan to get their business up and running.

23 different business start-up ideas were created as a result of the event, with Principality Building Society and Legal & General offering useful advice to the students on how their ideas could be developed in the future.

Amanda Davies, Principality Building Society’s Wrexham Branch Manager, who shared her business knowledge with the A Level students, said: “The Dragon’s Den style event has been a fantastic way to engage with young people here at Maelor Comprehensive School. It’s been a really successful event with so many interesting business ideas pitched. The standard of the presentations made were extremely high, and congratulations go to the Nature’s Bite team who were the overall winners for their healthy snacking product.

“Principality is proud to be at the heart of communities across Wales and the borders, and we hope that this event will further raise the aspirations of young people in the area.”

Nick Ogonovsky, Head of Partnerships at Legal & General, said: “We are delighted to continue our relationship with Maelor School through our partnership with Principality.  This is our second year at Maelor and the standards have been raised again from an already high level.  There were some genuinely good quality business ideas shared with us and it was a pleasure to work with the students and to see the results of all their hard work, creativity and enthusiasm.  A number of the ideas have genuine business potential.  I’m looking forward to going back again next year and expanding the work we do with PBS to more schools in Wales as financial education for young people is an important element of the L&G corporate social strategy.”

Susan England, Head of Sixth Form at Maelor Comprehensive School, said: “The Dragon Den link with Principality and Legal and General is an excellent experience for our sixth form students. They get the experience of working with friendly experienced experts in business and marketing who are more than willing to share their expertise. The skills which the students take away from the experience will serve them well whatever their career plans in the future. It is a very valued part of our sixth form provision.”

Principality Building Society is committed to supporting the Welsh community and provides sponsorship for various organisations across the country. Last year, it was crowned as Wales’ Responsible Large Business of the Year 2015 at the Business in the Community Awards for its community outreach programmes.

Published: 18/04/2016