Academy students pitch their business ideas to Peter Jones

A group of talented young entrepreneurs from across the country pitched their businesses to Peter Jones CBE yesterday.

In what was the final judging phase for 2015’s National Entrepreneur of the Year award, six Peter Jones Enterprise Academy students presented their ideas and products to Peter and an expert panel at his offices in Marlow. 

The overall winner, who will be announced at graduation in July, will receive investment prize money of up to £5,000.

The students who took part were:

Ben Jewkes – Dudley College

Ben’s business, Educations Systems, is developing an app that will help young people access revision materials more conveniently. The programme is designed to enable customers to maximise their time and revise on the go. Ben said: “I’m happy that it’s over with now and I feel really proud of myself. The whole experience has been a bit like a rollercoaster and I feel that I’ve done myself and my company justice.”

Daniel Arundel – Oldham College

Daniel’s Arundel Bakery produces premium cakes in four product ranges: gluten-free, high-protein and low-fat, dairy-free, and fruit crumbles and pies. Targeting the rising ‘free from’ confectionery market, Daniel also uses his packaging to tell the story of his bakery. Daniel said: “The pitch went really quickly and I’m very happy with it. I feel confident, but everyone here today has earned their place in the final so the competition is tough. I’m looking forward to hearing the result.”

James Struthers – Bournemouth and Poole College

James’s clothing company, Fresh States, specialises in cutting-edge men’s fashion, combining innovative design with unique branding and quality production. The business tailors its products to each individual customer. James said: “It was an incredible experience – I think I’ve got a decent chance of winning. I was nervous to begin with but once I got into the flow of things it all went really well.”

Kamal Hyman – Peterborough Regional College

Kamal’s motivational speaking business, Aim a Little Higher, sees him delivering speeches and workshops in schools, colleges and youth organisations across the country, inspiring and empowering students to reach their potential. Kamal said: “I was really nervous beforehand but once you’re in there it just flows. I feel like I communicated everything I wanted to get across and it all went really well. It wasn’t as scary as I’d thought it would be. The waiting was the worst part. I’m looking forward to hearing the result.”

Kristen Bird – Bournemouth and Poole College

Kristen runs Kristabella Bakes, a bespoke cake company that produces baked goods for all kinds of special occasions, using only the finest ingredients. Appealing to those who “appreciate quality and perfection”, the company specialises in luxury wedding cakes, cupcakes, celebration cakes and dessert tables. Kristen said: “The whole experience was amazing – it was more than amazing. The judges made me feel really relaxed and they seemed really impressed with my business.

Reece Breslin – Leicester College

Targeting air-gun enthusiasts, Reece has developed the Pellpoint Backstop, which is designed to catch stray pellets and prevent potential damage to property and wildlife. He hopes to branch further into the market by producing more innovative products in line with the Pellpoint brand. Reece said: “It was so much better than I thought it would be. I was petrified before I went in but I delivered my pitch well and the judges seemed impressed. The whole day has been a great experience.”

To be considered for a spot in the final, each student had to submit detailed business and financial plans outlining their ideas, their progress so far and their plans for the future. 

These six were chosen from an extensive and very impressive pool of entries and should be very proud of their achievements. 

Peter Jones Foundation CEO Alice Barnard said: “I was extremely impressed by the calibre of pitches delivered. The students presented a selection of very interesting ideas and showed us a great deal of potential. It’s inspiring to see them taking what they’ve learned with the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy and using their skills to launch some really exciting businesses.

“Picking a winner has been very tough, but we’ve done it and we’re looking forward to announcing who it is at our graduation ceremony.”

Watch the highlights of the amazing day by clicking on the video below.