From the top · 13 February 2017

Peter Jones names Britain’s most enterprising young business tycoons

Peter Jones
Peter Jones’ Tycoon in Schools competition began in 2012

Dragons’ Den star Peter Jones has announced which eight teams of young business tycoons have reached the final of this year’s Tycoon in Schools – his nationwide annual enterprise competition.

Eight teams of entrepreneurial children from schools across the UK have been picked out of around 150 teams that took part in the competition, which included primary schools for the first time this year.

More than 100 teams of young business tycoons as young as five years-old have been battling it out, starting their chosen business and trading between October and December 2016, with the help of loans from the Peter Jones Foundation.

This year’s Tycoon in Schools competition saw over 2,000 schoolchildren receive loans, for business ideas as diverse as film nights, “e-sports” tournaments and printing children’s books.

Commenting on this year’s competition, Jones said: “I have been bowled over by the ambitious and innovative businesses that have been started as part of this year’s Tycoon in Schools. The standard has been particularly high this year with thousands of students taking part – including expansion into primary schools for the very first time.”

Tycoon in Schools is central to Jones’ stated aim to make enterprise a bigger part of UK schools’ national curriculum.

The competition has grown by 300 per cent since it was launched in 2012. According to a survey of schoolchildren that took part in Tycoon in Schools 2015, 70 per cent said they felt it had made them want to start their own business after leaving school.

Jones established the Peter Jones Foundation in 2005 to support young people to achieve their potential and to encourage entrepreneurialism. The Foundation’s three-part mission is to “educate, encourage and support” Britain’s young people.

The winning business of this year’s Tycoon in Schools will be announced at an awards ceremony at Buckingham Palace on 6 March. Jones added: “I look forward to meeting the teams and hearing even more about their businesses.”

The eight teams to have reached the final include:

  • Blue Bowtiquefrom Barnby Road Academy in Newark. The team created bespoke hair bows giving “flair to the hair”
  • Birdie BrunchfromLudham Primary School and Nursery. The team created sustainable feeders for birds and sold them as gifts in the local area
  • The Community Kids team from Darwen Aldridge Community Academy produced calendars to celebrate their local area, and raised money for a memorial garden for their friend
  • The Little Acorn – from Queen Anne’s School in The team created handmade, decorative family trees to sell as gifts
  • Indulge – from Hampton College in Peterborough. The team produced handmade bath bombs
  • Lease 2 Learn – from Westborough High School. The team helped people in West Yorkshire get equal access to technology via their computer recycling and leasing business
  • Footprint – from The Queen’s School, Chester. The team of sixth-formers created a business to educate children on current issues, such as embracing different ethnicities and cultures, through creating and selling a children’s book
  • The Lytham Christmas Company – from AKS Lytham Independent School. The team created reindeer sculptures to sell as gifts before the Christmas period

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Fred Heritage was previously deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London.