Seven schools get ready to enter the Dragons’ Den at Reid Kerr College

Seven schools get ready to enter the Dragons’ Den at Reid Kerr College
Alison Rennie, Paisley Daily Express
02.06.10

SEVEN teams of ambitious schoolkids will today enter the Dragon’s Den for a competition which will test their enterpreneurial skills to the limit.

The pupils are taking part in Renfrewshire Council’s first ever Schools Dragon’s Den event, which takes place at Reid Kerr College in Paisley.

And, just like the popular BBC Two television show, all of the children will have to face a panel of business ‘dragons’ and pitch their ideas for a social enterprise project.

Every school in Renfrewshire was given the chance to take part in the fun event by submitting a business plan.

From these, an expert panel of judges picked seven finalists and they are Paisley Grammar, Mary Russell School and Bushes Primary, all in Paisley; Our Lady of Peace Primary, in Linwood; Auchenlodment Primary, in Johnstone; St Fillan’s Primary, in Houston; and Trinity High, in Renfrew.

The Paisley Grammar project is entitled ‘Bringing Glamour to the Grammar’ and has involved pupils who have completed a City and Guilds beauty course raising money for charity by offering nail-painting and hand massage to staff.

They plan to establish a proper nail and beauty bar in the school and open the service to staff and pupils, raising regular funds for charity.

The children would use any money raised to offer a free mobile treatment service to residents of a nearby care home.

At Mary Russell School, the project is dubbed ‘Vermi Good’ and involves earthworms being used to break down kitchen and garden waste into quality, nutrient-rich compost and concentrated liquid feed for the school’s flower and vegetable gardens, potted plants and potato barrels.

The project will support the school’s eco status and encourage pupils and staff to be responsible for appropriate disposal of their rubbish. It will also help the pupils to lower their carbon footprint.

Over at Bushes Primary, children hope their ‘Sparkles Nail Salon’ initiative will impress the judges.

Pupils plan to run a weekly nail salon service which will see the maths bay coverted into a nail bar.

The business would run every Friday and the service would be available to staff and pupils.

Girls in primary seven would run the nail bar and work with a team of primary six children to carry on the business when they move on to secondary school.

Trinity High School’s project is called ‘School Magazine’ and aims to develop the success of the existing school magazine, called The Trinity Times, by expanding readership and making it more attractive and colourful.

The team want to produce a colour version of the magazine in response to complaints from readers about it being in black and white.

The magazine celebrates the many achievement of pupils, staff and parents and highlights issues affecting the wider community.

At Our Lady of Peace Primary, the ‘Ecoforms’ project will see the school open a shop selling recycled uniforms as a practical way for pupils to reduce their carbon footprint.

It will be set up and run by pupils, giving them real business experience and the opportunity to learn about teamwork, good communications and coping with problems.

Auchenlodment Primary’s project is called ‘Fantastic Forests’ and involves the development of partnerships with countryside rangers, community wardens and the Forestry Commission to clean up woods which surround the school.

At St Fillan’s Primary, the business plan would see the launch of a ‘Fairtrade Cafe,’ with the profits being divided between four charities.

The five ‘dragons’ the children will face at today’s event are social entrepreneur Jay Lamb; Jim Lally, of Learning and Teaching Scotland; Audrey Cumberford, vice principal of Reid Kerr College; Linda Wilson, of Clydesdale Bank; and Alison Dowling, from Renfrewshire Credit Union.

Each business plan prepared for a school had to identify how much funding their project would need to make the business sustainable.

A key element was to focus on social enterprise that would in some way give back to the community.

The winning school will receive funding for their project and Clydesdale Bank have donated trophies which will be handed out at today’s event.