Langdon Park pupils win Dragons Den contest with scheme to avoid school detention.
- Credit: TH Education Business Partnership
A team of 14-year-olds have come up with an enterprising scheme to hire out stationery items and equipment to pupils who forget to bring them to school and get detention. The novel idea has won a Year 9 team from Poplar’s Langdon Park Secondary in London’s East End £250 to set up their enterprise.
They took up a challenge during Global Entrepreneurship Week to devise a business plan that meets a need or solves a problem, which was presented to a dragons’ den-style pitch, competing against other east London schools.
Their Stationery Rocks enterprise is based on renting supplies to forgetful pupils to stop them landing detention after school.
A rental model rather than a sales model “would yield higher return on investment”, they told an impressed panel of by Tower Hamlets Education Business Partnership judges.
Stationery Rocks’ so-called ‘managing director’ Muhammad-Ismail Hussain said: “Our understanding of what it takes to make a business work has grown enormously. It’s helped us develop our ideas and given us determination.”
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The Langdon Park youngsters gave “a clear and detailed overview of all aspects of their proposed business”, from branding and marketing to projected income, judges found.
Central Foundation Girls school in Bow came second and Bishop Challoner Boys in Stepney came third, with all 60 young enterprising students who took part getting Westfield shopping vouchers in time for Christmas.
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They had to find out about social enterprises, do their market research and analyse the results, then brainstorm their ideas. The teams were aided by 20 volunteers from Barclays Bank to polish their business plans and pitch them to the judges.
One judge, David Farrow from Barclays Bank, told the enterprising youngsters: “You have shown ability to think creatively about how to solve problems and make things better—and shown great business acumen too.”
A Bishop Challoner staff member who teaches business studies felt the challenge “really brought their studies to life” and helped give purpose to what they learn in the classroom.