The brightest young business brains in the north-east battled for supremacy last night in an event billed as “Dragons’ Den meets the Apprentice”.
A team of budding young entrepreneurs from Inverurie Academy Academy, trading as SEED, triumphed in the contest after impressing a strong line-up of judges with their business acumen.
The Young Enterprise Scotland (YES) Grampian final saw six groups of secondary school pupils competing for the prize for the overall winning team.
Inverurie Academy clearly has more than it’s fair share of future industry chiefs, accounting for three of the finalists.
The Inverurie trio of Scent in the City, Amygdala and SEED built businesses around hand-crafted hypo-allergenic soap, innovative “wellness journals” and, in SEED’s case, efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
Northfield’s Academy’s business hotshots, bundl, hit the ground running with their movie night and pamper hamper themed gift sets.
trading bundl from Northfield Academy: themed gift sets such as ‘Movie Night bundl’ and ‘Pamper Hamper bundl’.
The Little Cottage from Oldmachar Academy wowed judges with its homemade rattan reed scent diffusers, while Peterhead Academy’s Just Coastin’ team also impressed with its scenic photography coasters.
All six finalists pitched their business ideas to the judging panel in front of more than 200 people at the Sir Ian Wood building at Robert Gordon University. The event was compered by broadcaster and writer Nicky Marr.
It was the climax to nine months of creating, setting up and running small businesses under the YES programme, with last night’s line-up having made it to the final from among about 40 companies from 21 schools across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.
The winners, who were judged on criteria including financial management, business acumen and marketing flair, now go forward to compete at the YES Scotland final in June.
YES Grampian chairman Neil Marchant said: “The Young Enterprise Grampian programme has reached a new level this year and it’s tremendous to see.
“We are constantly looking at ways in which we can ensure the programme is relevant to the way business works today and how we can light a fire within these young people to inspire them to become entrepreneurs.
“The results have been really impressive and I hope that the winning team will go on to be crowned Scottish winners as they have it in them to do so.”
All of the teams showcased their products before facing questions from the judging panel, which was led by local entrepreneur, chocolatier and Dragons’ Den star Jamie Hutcheon of Cocoa Ooze.
Archie Whyte of Scent in the City won the Balmoral Cup for managing director of the year award, presented by north-east entrepreneur Jimmy Milne.