Young entrepreneurs from Wymondham College take on a Dragons’ Den-style challenge

Young entrepreneurs have been wowing some of Norwich's business leaders during a Dragons' Den-style event.

Students from Wymondham College really rose to the challenge when they took part in The Dragons' Apprentice on Friday and Saturday.

Five teams of 12 to 14-year-old students from the college's gifted and talented programme were set the task of finding ways to increase Rhino Greenhouse's sales by 25pc - and on Saturday each group faced the panel of dragons as they battled to be crowned the winning team.

Team Apollo claimed the prize but the dragons said they were impressed with each and every one of the students that took part.

The other teams that took part were The Young Entrepreneurs, Floreat, Born to Win, and The Super Happy Fun Team.

Elliot Symonds, sales and marketing manager for Jarrold Training and chairman of business group 25:am which organised the competition, said: 'They were just amazing. The quality of the presentations and the ideas were brilliant, and we told them that they gave presentations that would put many proper business people in full-time work to absolute shame.'

He said it was Team Apollo who impressed the judges the most with their quality of research, ideas and presentation.

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Some of the ideas Team Apollo came up with included exporting the product to wealthy countries like those in Scandinavia, creating link deals with charities who support green enterprise, improving Rhino Greenhouse's web search optimization, and boosting the company's profile on eBay.

The Team Apollo members were Owen Wilson, Elliot Jordan, Owen Jack, James Geere and Alex Marchant.

Steven Dye, the coordinator of the gifted and talented students at Wymondham College said the students were fantastic and did the college proud.

He said The Dragons' Apprentice had given the students the chance to gain some real-life business experience and that the college hoped to forge even stronger links between the businesses and the college in the future.

A number of individual awards were also given out as well as the team prize.

Ruth Parsons was awarded the chairman's prize for business dealings and interaction, while Owen Jack was presented with the prize for outstanding contribution.

Ellie Groves, Eric Chapman, Molly John, Owen Wilson and Niamh McAllister were each awarded a prize from their dragon mentor for contribution to their team.

Day one of the challenge took place at Jarrold Training, St James Mill, in Whitefriars, Norwich, while day two took place at Wymondham College.

Chairman of the dragons Mr Symonds was joined on the judging panel by Steve Finney, profit centre manager of Edmundsons Electrical, Norwich, Mark Foley, owner of Linked Law solicitors, Charlie Gauvain, managing director of Eye Film and TV, Barney Phillips, managing director of Dynamic Print, Norwich, and Rob Morley, business development director of Fountain Partnership.

• Is your school involved in a special project? Call reporter Emma Knights or email emma.knights@archant.co.uk

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