Peter Jones Enterprise Academy students in Amersham were given the opportunity to ‘pitch’ their business ideas to a panel of ‘Dragons’ this month, which included councillor Mimi Harker OBE, entrepreneur Jeremy Reilly and Graeme Tidd from the Peter Jones Academy.
Learners on the BTEC level 3 course in Understanding Enterprise and Entrepreneurship are encouraged to come up with innovative products or service ideas. The pitch is designed to demonstrate that learning the principles of starting up and running even the smallest micro-business are extremely relevant to a future career.
Student Harri Doyle from Chesham pitched his luxury wrist watch rental idea to the panel. “I’ve always been fascinated by watches,” said Harri. “The design, appearance and feel of each is very different, so I came up with the idea that people could choose to rent a watch online, pay for it and have it hand-delivered to their door for a special event.”
Selling organic quails’ eggs, whether for eating or in protein shakes is the business idea presented by Josh Buckley from Aylesbury. “Quail eggs are considered more nutritious and healthier than chicken eggs and I’ve been looking at ways of getting them to market,” said Josh. “I’ve been chatting to a supermarket chain and they want to know more.”
Students who have completed the inspirational PJEA course, which was founded at the college in 2009, have gone on to apply their skills in big and small businesses; some have started out on their own and some have gone on to continue studying business skills at University.
On the day of the pitch, the ideas that were presented varied enormously. As well as praising the very high standard of delivery, the panel were impressed with the way in which every business idea, whether in the planning stage or actually trading, was very clear about the market segment being targeted.
Product ideas included commemorative mugs, hair styling wands, and specialist clothing, whilst services addressed weddings and wrist watches. Business ideas that targeted societal issues were also to the fore, with period poverty, anger management, dyslexia and mobility-impairment featuring prominently.
Each of the ideas were formally presented in the Boardroom, accompanied by a comprehensive business plan. Students now have the opportunity to develop their concepts further and enter the National Entrepreneur of the Year Award, presented by Peter Jones at the annual Enterprise Festival ‘EntFest’ at Buckingham University in June.