A ‘Dragon’s Den style’ panel of 5 business experts grilled Waltham Forest students and budding entrepreneurs on their 6 new business ideas this month. The winning ideas ranged from ipad cases to chopping boards that transform rubbish into desirable new products.
The final of “TestTown Walthamstow” brought together local students from Waltham Forest College and George Monoux College, as well as local entrepreneurs. They presented an array of green business ideas to compete in the UK and Ireland's TestTown competition for 16-30 year olds.
The judges brought with them a raft of experience in business which ranged from the legal, finance, entrepreneurs (including a magician) and a business mentor.
This event was the culmination of activities which have taken place over the last few months managed by charity London Sustainability Exchange. In October participants had received green enterprise training from start up specialist Colin Crooks from Tree Shepherd. They worked on important aspects of business, such as identifying markets, considering materials source, cash flow and presenting. Throughout the process participants were given the opportunity to link with local mentors and market stalls.
Below: Dragons Den event winners, Max (left) and Abigail (right) featured with their products.
Photo courtesy of OlliverPhotography.
Winners on the day were:
• 1st prize - Max Bainbridge and Abigail Booth, aged 24, ‘Forest and Found’ http://www.forest-and-found.com/ re-using materials to create home wares
• 2nd prize - Ahmed Adow, aged 17, business student from Sir George Monoux College http://www.george-monoux.ac.uk/ with his idea for ‘Recypouch’ – ipad and tablet covers made from 100% recycled materials
• 3rd prize - Enrique Melin, aged 27, aspiring green entrepreneur ‘Earthsfreeverse’. Re-using wood to make kitchen chopping boards and up cycling furniture.
The winning pitch will now go through to the TestTown Grand Final to compete for the £10,000 prize to start up their business.
Samantha Heath, Chief Executive at LSx, said: “The workshop was a great success with some impressive ideas on the day. This project has complemented our wider Green Entrepreneurs programme; we are keen to work with as many people to be part of a strong green economy, especially after the success of the recent Paris Conference.”
Panel member Simon Fordham, Fordham Henderson Partnership said: “I was impressed by the quality, innovation and imagination that the young people showed in developing their sustainable product ideas. There were a few products that could ‘easily’ be released to the market and with the correct support have potential for success.”
Another panel member, Bora Kurti, Standard Chartered Bank, said: “TestTown is an encouraging initiative that discovers young local entrepreneurs. Candidates found their inner businessperson and delivered some great ideas. The dynamic individuals are on their way to help build a prosperous community.”
Winners Max Bainbridge and Abigail Booth, Forest and Found said: 'It was great to be challenged by the panel and made to think about what we have achieved with the business so far and how we can push ourselves to develop it further. We can't wait to take part in the final and seek out further opportunities to make our small business grow!'
Below from behind: Dragons Den runners up, Enrique Melin and Ahmed Adow featured with their products. Below from left: Simon Fordham, Jake Banfield, Bora Kurti, Ed Hayden, and Daniel Clark.
Photo courtesy of jacobfnphotography.
For further information please contact:
Gemma George, London Sustainability Exchange, 0207 234 9400, G.George@lsx.org.uk (Project Lead)