Young Enterprise gives young people with a passion for entrepreneurship a chance to develop their business ideas and receive the very best business education to prepare them for the world of work. Mike Hooper, Head of Business Development and Marketing at Conoscohas been involved for 7 years as an advisor and more recently as a board member for Young Enterprise South Surrey. In January he led a panel of judges for a Dragons’ Den competition as part of this year’s Young Enterprise Company Programme 

Students from schools across Surrey and North Hampshire were invited to: 

  • Submit an A4 onesided business plan including key financial figures  
  • Submit a 2-minute pre-recorded elevator pitch
  • Answer 2 questions from the Dragons, via a Zoom call 

Young Enterprise received a number of fantastic submissions with over 20 new student companies formed to take part in the competition. With Covid restrictions still in place, this is a testament to the hard work of the students who have had to overcome the challenges of remote working.  

Lynne Skinner, Area Manager at Young Enterprise says, 

“In what must be described as the most extraordinary year of our lives, it is beyond amazing that young people have embraced the Young Enterprise Company Programme experience. These students are incredible and are most definitely showing extraordinary employability skills, resilience being a very important one. Several students have thanked Young Enterprise for allowing them to engage in a truly worthwhile project. Dragons’ Den was a true example of students taking the opportunity to showcase their companies, well done to you all.” 

Hosted via Zoom on 28th January judges crowned Growful, a brand created by students from Royal Grammar School, the winners after being persuaded that their business plan will be a commercial success. Growful produce plantable greeting cards and other eco-friendly gifts.  

Coming in second place was Bamboozl, a company formed by students at Winchester College School, who create bamboo wood covered diaries. Firefly Technology from students at Royal Grammar School was awarded the best business plan, with Athena from Gordon’s School as runners up. 

Mike Hooper says, 

“It is always a pleasure to be involved in Young Enterprise events such as Dragons’ Den. It was great to see so many promisinstudents who I am sure will go on to be exceptional entrepreneurs and businessmen and women. You can also see from the winners that the students have a clear focus on CSR. I speak for all of the judges when I say that the level of work submitted was outstanding and we were delighted to see so many well-thought-out business plans”. 

Sian Holtzhuizen, Group Service Delivery Team Lead at Conosco added 

Conosco takes Corporate Social Responsibility seriously, iunderpins our core values and we encourage all of our employees to take an active role in the community and get involved in charitable efforts that are close to their heart. It’s great to see Mike, a member of our extended leadership team and an avid philanthropist, making a difference in his local community.