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industry standard courses south London adults 16-18 year olds
  • industry standard courses south London adults 16-18 year olds
  • industry standard courses south London adults 16-18 year olds
  • industry standard courses south London adults 16-18 year olds
07 January 2014

Bright business minds get set to slay dragons

Dragons Den finalists with semi-final judgesTwo teams of entrepreneurs from South Thames College are celebrating after securing places in the final of the Wandsworth's version of Dragons' Den.

Run by the Mayor of Wandsworth, the competition is open to young people in the borough aged 16 –19. Six schools and colleges entered and from a total of 20, eight teams of finalists have won the opportunity to pitch their products to the panel of 'dragons', which will include boutique mother and baby brand JoJo Maman Bebe and inventor of the first online ATM, Sir Richard Heygate.

After triumphing in the semi-finals the aspiring entrepreneurs are now hopeful they have what it takes to go all the way. The successful students won the judges over with their innovative business ideas including a light that clips inside your bag so you can see the contents in the dark and an electric toothbrush that combines toothpaste, floss and toothpicks.

BTEC level 1 business studies student, 17-year-old Luis Castedo from Peckham said: "I'm so happy to have got this far, especially as I am the son of a business man – my dad will be proud! Taking part in this competition has meant that I've gained experience of managing a team and how to handle presentations."

And the group has certainly shown entrepreneurial spirit after approaching oral hygiene giant Oral-B for advice on their product as well as receiving feedback from a leading dentist in Philadelphia.

Jack Powell, 17, from Earlsfield, also studying business studies added: "I've always wanted to be self-employed and own my retail business so this is a great first step for me. The most important thing I've learnt is that there's no such thing as a stupid idea and you can make anything happen if you put your mind to it."

On the semi-final judging panel was former Chairman of the Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club member, Chris Wyatt. He said: "It was a tough choice because there was a very interesting range of ideas and the calibre of the pitches was really high. It's vital that we encourage enterprise inside and outside the classroom and support the next generation of entrepreneurs, because they're the ones who will be taking us through to the future."

The final will take place in the Civic Suite, Wandsworth Town Hall on Thursday 16 January. The teams will battle it out to take home the first prize of £500, second prize of £100 and third prize of £50.