Dragon wipes out competition

22nd April 2011 at 01:00
Innovative ideas and a flashmob marketing method prove pupils have promising futures in the business world, as Julia Belgutay reports

Young entrepreneurs from Kilmarnock have impressed some of Scotland's leading business people with their innovative ideas at a "Dragons' Den" event.

The St Joseph's Academy contest, attended by pupils, staff, parents, local politicians and friends of the school, was organised by the young enterprise group - a team of eight sixth-year pupils - for its first venture as an events company.

English teacher Anne Munro, the team's link teacher, says the group was responsible for all aspects of the process, including marketing, pricing and budget, and the evening was a huge success.

"I think it was fabulous as a spectacle. They had a VIP area for invited guests, they had high-quality canapes and other pupils performed in the interludes. They really pulled it together," Ms Munro says.

The team publicised the event by using a "flashmob", a marketing method using dance to attract attention from passers-by. Fellow pupils and teaching staff were enlisted as dancers.

With the help of Marie Macklin, chief executive of the Klin Group, who supported them throughout the process, they enlisted the chairman of Gleneagles, Peter Lederer, the managing director of Babcock Marine, John Howie, and the general manager of Caledonian Paper UPM-Kymmene Corporation, Gordon Mitchell, to join Ms Macklin as dragons.

Pupils from S1 to S6 were able to take part, and from the 12 teams that entered, the panel chose S2 pupil Danielle McCloskey, who pitched her idea of wipes impregnated with suntan lotion. These would be especially useful for families with small children and people who do not want to carry bottles of suntan lotion around, she said.

Danielle received pound;300 in prize money, and all the pupils who pitched ideas will visit the dragons at each of their companies for a day.

The flashmob can be watched on



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