St Albans girls triumph in Dragons’ Apprentice Challenge

TWELVE teams of budding entrepreneurs from schools in the district raised nearly �16,000 for local charities by taking part in the 2011 Dragons’ Apprentice Challenge.

And at the awards evening last week, the team from St Albans Girls School (STAGS) emerged as the top fundraisers with �2,676 which was handed over to their chosen charity, Homestart St Albans.

The team comprising Amelia Sweeney, Chloe Williams, Kirsty Seymour and Molly Pearson with the help of their mentor Luke Harrison from Debenham Ottaway raised the money through projects ranging from making and selling flower arrangements to organising raffles. STAGS also won the award for charity awareness.

The award for the most innovative fundraising idea was won by the Cougars team from St Columba’s College for its Harpenden Spotlight on Africa charity which involved arranging an African-themed evening complete with a steel band and wildebeest meat.

The Planning for the Future team from St George’s School in Harpenden took the award for best presentation while Beaumont in St Albans won the best poster.

Among a raft of prizes awarded to the teams were gifts from Deloitte, work experience with the University of Herts and BAM Construct, coaching in job search with Kids2work, presentation technique training as well as a starring role in a promotional You Tube video produced by Archimedes Consulting.

The Dragons Apprentice is in its second year and matches school teams with local businesses to raise money for local charities.

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It is managed by Connect St Albans, a group that links the needs of local voluntary organisations with the skills and resources of local businesses and it is led by the CVS with the active support of a number of agencies including St Albans council and Oaklands College.

The awards were presented by Cllr Maxine Crawley, the Mayor of St Albans, and announced by Julie Newlan, Pro Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Business School at the University of Herts who headed up the judging panel.

She said: “To raise almost �16,000 for very worthy causes is a tremendous achievement and we were all extremely impressed by the enthusiasm, innovation, business sense and sheer hard work displayed by all the teams.

“The students all had a real taste of dealing with planning, finance, marketing, sales and presenting with expert guidance and support from their Dragons and we can feel confident that there is a new generation of entrepreneurs lining up to be the business leaders of the future.”