Dragon’s team do the business

PAPER PIONEERS: The winning team of pupils at St Joseph's Catholic Primary School, called Re-use Recycle, with 'dragons' Geoff Shepherd, Gareth Mafia and Maureen Fletcher. (d28111106)

PAPER PIONEERS: The winning team of pupils at St Joseph's Catholic Primary School, called Re-use Recycle, with 'dragons' Geoff Shepherd, Gareth Mafia and Maureen Fletcher. (d28111106)

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ENTERPRISING pupils have been rising to a Dragon’s Den-style challenge.

In a pioneering scheme, children at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary pitched business ideas to a panel of local entrepreneurs in the special event.

The children spent two days completing a special programme before presenting their ideas to the judges.

And the winning team is ready to put its project– Re-Use Recycle – into action to make money for the school.

The successful team decided to recycle stationery in an eco-friendly scheme and sell items to family and friends.

The judging panel comprised Geoff Shepherd, founder of business group The Yorkshire Mafia, Gareth Boot, owner of the PIC Group and headteacher, Maureen Fletcher.

As with the BBC TV series, the nine and 10-year-olds had to impress the panel with their branding, market research, estimated turnover and profit. The panel then selected the best plan and handed out prizes to the winning team. The challenge was part of the new Schools Teaching Enterprise Programme (STEP) which aims to introduce primary schoolchildren to the basics of business and help develop their self-belief.

Mr Shepherd said: “Events like this get young people thinking commercially at an early age. These children are our future business leaders and it’s amazing to have the chance to help them become good ones.”

Kathryn Rushforth, managing director of the STEP team programme, said: “The children not only benefit from learning early entrepreneurial skills, but also have the chance to run a profitable business of their own. We will give the members of the winning team the best possible price from the supplier to ensure they make as much profit as possible for their school.”

A spokesman for the Healds Road school said: “This was a brilliant scheme. We have put plans for it to start trading on hold until the new year as we couldn’t roll it out properly due to all the Christmas preparations.”