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Teams Triumph in Dragons' Den!

Three teams of students pitched their business ideas to a panel of judges from a local accountancy firm in a challenge inspired by the BBC’s ‘Dragons’ Den’.  This event was the latest opportunity brought to the school through Ahead Partnership's Make the Grade scheme. 

With the support of experts at Baker Tilly, the fifteen Year 10 pupils were tasked with designing and costing an imaginary product, forecasting turnover and profits, and estimating potential growth and business value. Having visited the Baker Tilly's Leeds office a fortnight previously, the teams had been busy preparing to give a 10 minute presentation on their business plans and face a grilling from five Baker Tilly judges. 

The winning team, comprised of Jamie Durham, Anthony Sharp, Lois Thorne, Jack Knowles and Eeshar Singh, won over the judges with their plans for the ‘Solar Boost’ – a solar powered mobile phone charger, beating off stiff competition from the other teams whose designs included a rotating shoe rack, and a recruitment app targeted at students. The judges were particularly impressed by the winning team’s product attributes, environmental ethics, teamwork and their business plan and marketing ideas.

Crawshaw student Eeshar Singh who was the financial director for the winning team said:  ‘It was quite a difficult challenge but it was a good experience and I learned a lot from the Dragons.  I now understand that there is more to accountancy than I previously thought.’ 


Tony Chapman, a Partner at Baker Tilly in Leeds, and one of the Dragons, said: ‘The standard of the presentation from each of the teams was extremely high. We really put the students through their paces, and they all demonstrated great creativity, confidence, business acumen and attention to detail – qualities that we recognise in our clients and we look for in potential recruits.’

David Jowle, Marketing and Communications Director for Crawshaw School said: ‘All the students who took part in this project have benefitted hugely from the advice and guidance received from Baker Tilly’s experts. Crawshaw School is continuing to build links with business partners, and challenges such as this really help our students broaden their horizons and think carefully about future careers.’

The initiative was supported by Ahead Partnership, a social enterprise that  works with the public and private sectors to foster social and economic regeneration, and formed part of the ‘Make the Grade’ challenge, a unique initiative by Ahead Partnership focused on driving up pupils'  aspirations  whilst creating sustainable long-term  partnerships between schools and businesses.

Sophie Nesworthy, Programme Leader at Ahead Partnership said, ‘The challenge was designed to develop the students’ skills in innovative thinking, presenting and communication and Baker Tilly did a fantastic job in inspiring the students whilst giving them a glimpse into the world of work. The Dragons’ Den is a great example of what businesses can do to help students in the city and Baker Tilly and Crawshaw School have worked together very well to get the best support for the students involved.’