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PICTURES: Fortrose and Alness pupils enter Dragons' Den to pitch business ideas as part of long-running Young Enterprise Scotland Highland & Moray contest

By Hector MacKenzie

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Eco Essence Back (l-r) back Dominika Kalbukowska, Ryan Sutherland Front (l-r) Hannah Burns, Alex Spence, Kirsty Fraser
Eco Essence Back (l-r) back Dominika Kalbukowska, Ryan Sutherland Front (l-r) Hannah Burns, Alex Spence, Kirsty Fraser

Ross-shire’s newest entrepreneurs got their first taste of applying for finance earlier this week.

Pupils from Alness and Fortrose Academies were taking part in Young Enterprise Scotland Highland & Moray Area’s version of TV’s Dragons’ Den, pitching their idea for products to a panel of local businesspeople.

Eco Essence from Alness received £70 to help kick start their plans for a range of handmade sustainable candles while Fortrose Academy’s Revive were awarded £100 to develop their fire pits made from used washing machine drums.

All the teams taking part also received valuable advice on how to progress their plans in time to set up a socially distanced Covid-proof stall at the annual Young Enterprise Scotland Christmas trade fair in Inverness on Saturday, December 11.

The Young Enterprise Scotland Company Programme for Highland and Moray runs in partnership with local schools and businesses across the area to encourage young people to experience the challenges of running a business.

Over the course of a year teams from individual schools learn how to run a successful business by designing and making products, marketing them and managing the financial side of the business.

The scheme is aimed at 15 to 19-year olds and teams are supported by teachers, a volunteer business adviser from the local community, and an Area Team.

Linda Thomas, chair of YES Highland and Moray said: “Dragons’ Den is always a challenge for our teams as they refine the concepts for their products and sell them to the panel. It was great to be back in person this year and the teams performed brilliantly. Our Dragons were hugely impressed with their energy, enthusiasm and creativity – all delivered whilst wearing face masks.

“Over the pandemic it’s become clear that taking part in the Young Enterprise Company Programme is not just about learning how to run a business. Our teams of young people put into practice working together, thinking creatively and managing change and challenging circumstances, all of which is great preparation for their careers and will stand them in good stead, particularly in these difficult times.”

The members of the Dragon’s Den panel were:

Adam Bell – Moment Modern Marketing

Grant Wright – Everyone Entertained

Sarah Frame-O’Hare – Strategy Cards Ltd

Lorraine Westley – Recruitment Bee (Scotland) Ltd

The teams taking part in this year’s Young Enterprise Programme are:

Alness Academy

Fortrose Academy

Glenurquhart High School

Gordonstoun School (2 teams)

Inverness High School

Millburn Academy

Wick High School

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