STAGS team triumph in St Albans Dragons’ Apprentice Challenge

Dragons' Apprentice winners Team Cohesion

Dragons' Apprentice winners Team Cohesion - Credit: Archant

A team of seven St Albans schoolgirls roared to victory in this year’s Dragons’ Apprentice Challenge.

Dragons' Apprentice finalists

Dragons' Apprentice finalists - Credit: Archant

The members of Team Cohesion, from St Albans Girls School, were crowned overall winners of the annual business competition, raising £1,683 for The Abbeyfield Society, an organisation providing care and support for older people.

Using the £100 seed money given to all entrants back in September, they organised a range of events including a joint school disco with Verulam School, a senior citizens’ Christmas party and a quiz night, all with the support and guidance of their Dragon mentor, Alexander Neale from Debenhams Ottaway solicitors.

Their aim was to devise a business plan which would turn their initial investment into £1,000 or more for a designated charity.

The team also walked away with a trophy for being the best managed team and an award for designing and creating the best poster.

At Monday night’s awards event hosted by the University of Hertfordshire Social Enterprise Unit, the four teams of finalists presented their business achievements to a panel of SuperDragons representing local business, voluntary sector, local government and higher education.

In addition to the overall winners, other awards were also presented on the night. Team Affinity, also from St Albans Girls’ School, was recognised for earning the most money – £3,921 for its charity RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People).

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The award for closest co-operation with their charity was won by Team Illusion from Sir John Lawes in Harpenden for its work with Carers in Hertfordshire; and the most innovative team was named as Team Chic from Oaklands College in St Albans for overcoming adversity and running three events in six weeks to raise money for St Albans & District Talking Newspaper.

The Dragons’ Apprentice Challenge is owned by the Centre for Voluntary Service and was created in St Albans.

Penny Mortimer, who pioneered and has driven the growth of the Challenge, said: “This has been a particularly challenging year for the young Apprentices. Those who completed the Challenge are to be admired and congratulated for their tenacity, inspiration and hard work.

“All meetings, planning, events and marketing take place in their own time, on top of a heavy schedule of schoolwork and other activities. There’s little doubt these are the young people who’ll go on to excel in their future careers.”

She added: “Dragons’ Apprentice Challenge operates independently in six hubs across Hertfordshire and later this year will extend to Cambridge. To date over 1,600 young people have participated and with the support of their business Dragons, have generated more than £350,000 for 190 local charities and community groups.”

Any schools, businesses or charities interested in taking part in Dragons’ Apprentice 2016/17 should contact