Dragons’ Apprentice is back again for another year – the community initiative which brings together business mentors, local charities and the bright business-thinking stars of the future to use innovation, sharp thinking and creativity to convert £100 to £1000 for a great cause.
The scheme, now in its eighth year runs in both St Albans and Harpenden and more recently in Welwyn Garden City and once again Oaklands College are in the mix in both competitions, submitting teams of Level 3 Business students to take the challenge.
Six weeks into term and the teams have been recruited, team names announced, roles assigned, and each team attended a launch event to be matched with their chosen mentor and charity. From here on in the challenge is simple – take the £100 sum donated as an initial investment by the scheme and convert it to as much cash as possible for charity using business acumen, team skills and creativity.
They will learn vital business skills by marketing a product or service that they develop through fundraising events and other means, guided each step of the way by their appointed Dragon.
An awards ceremony is set for March 2018 at Barclay’s headquarters in London, where a number of Super Dragons will judge the winner. The team that generates a profit by being the most creative and entrepreneurial will come out on top.
Teams have entered the challenge from local schools and colleges across the area – each over the coming months will be led by their mentors to come up with ways to make maximum funds for their chosen charity. As the name suggests – it’s the perfect blend of elements from famed prime time TV shows The Apprentice and Dragon’s Den to create a winning formula that supports local businesses, engages young people and raises the profile of local charities in Hertfordshire.
So who are the Oaklands teams?
Here they are – the two Oaklands College teams in this years competition ready to take on the challenge and bring it home for the College.
Debenhams Ottoway - a leading Hertfordshire solicitors firm in St Albans, providing legal advice to businesses, families and individuals.
St Albans Good Neighbour Scheme
A charity offering support to St Albans Residents who may be elderly, unwell, lonely, or facing a crisis. The voluntary-run service provides practical support such as shopping and transport alongside emotional support by providing regular friends and visitors.
WELWYN GARDEN CITY
Accolade Measurement – a Welwyn-based a team of civil, mechanical and computer engineers working together to provide load testing and safety critical structural monitoring.
Keech Hospice - charity which supports adults from Luton and South Bedfordshire, and children from Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Milton Keynes, who have life-limiting illnesses. Keech is unique as it is one of the few hospices in the UK which provides care for both adults and children.
From initial meetings with dragons and their charities in the first few weeks of the challenge, both Oaklands teams have been brainstorming ideas for events and product they create, market and sell to transform their hundred pound donation into the maximum amount possible for their chosen charity. They have been encouraged to think outside the box – going beyond the realms of simple cake sales and charity car washes to really create something that will capture the attention of the public and generate the most profit for charity.
The end of the project will see five chosen teams face a panel of ‘Super Dragons’ who will review the teams final logs before the teams deliver a five minute presentation and face a grilling at the awards ceremony. At this point they will be judged not just on the total raised, but evidence of the way they have worked with dragons, charities and established positive relationships along the way to achieve their goal.
We’ll be keeping tabs on their progress over the coming months – in the meantime, follow the challenge for each areas on Twitter - @DragonsApp @DragonAppWelhat