Students are invited into the Dragon’s Den by Barclays

This month we teamed up with Barclays Northampton to organise a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style event for local students considering an entrepreneurial career.

The exciting event was held at Barclays’ Northampton offices on Monday 13 October, and 40 local students between 16 and 19 years of age were given the opportunity to design and pitch an innovative smartphone app to a panel of experts.

Barclays partners with Career Ready as part of their 5 Million Young Futures commitment, through which they help young people build the enterprise, employability and financial skills they need to achieve their potential.  As part of their support, Barclays provides a number of mentors across the country as well as paid internships during the summer. This Dragon’s Den event was an additional offering, particularly aimed at students interested in starting their own businesses.

Phil Atherton, Barclaycard said: “As part of our Barclays LifeSkills programme, our aim is to help young people achieve their ambitions. The Dragon’s Den event aimed to help students improve their business acumen and build confidence. It was also a great chance for our colleagues at Barclaycard to share our skills with the local community.”

During the events, students were put into small groups and asked to come up with a concept for a new app. Each group was supported by a volunteer from Barclays who provided guidance, advice and some baseline knowledge.

At the end of the session, the groups were asked to pitch their product to a judging panel of Barclays’ employees in front of the whole room. They received direct feedback and input from the panel, with the aim of inspiring them to take their projects forward.

Caroline Kandaya-Breakfast, Regional Manager at Career Ready, worked with the Barclays team to plan and run the event. She said: “We are incredibly grateful to our network of local and national supporters, who contribute their time, skills and enthusiasm to make a real difference to the lives of students. Barclays already provides mentors and internships for young people across the country, but events like this can really empower students and give them the confidence to consider a career they would never have dreamed of previously.”

The event was a great success and students from Luton Sixth Form College won the  competition with their app “e-binder”, an educational tool to help students organise their revision resources.

Liz Lovell, Career Ready Coordinator from Luton  Sixth Form College, said: “The students really enjoyed the experience and learnt a lot. The mentors provided by Barclaycard were very proactive and inspired the teams. It was a well organised and engaging event and the winning students are very proud of themselves.”