Thirteen teams of students from schools across Dacorum will be putting their entrepreneurial skills to the test as young Apprentices in the 3rd annual Connect Dacorum Dragons’ Apprentice Challenge. The Challenge, which was launched on Tuesday, will run concurrently within seven independent regions across Hertfordshire.

The Challenge pairs teams of Year 12 students from schools with local business people (a Dragon). Each team is then matched with a local charity or community group and tasked with devising a business plan to turn £100 into £1000 or more. All profits generated are passed directly to the team’s charity.

At the launch, held at Astley Cooper School, Connect Dacorum Manager, Cindy Withey, matched the teams with a Dragon and with the charities and community groups that each team will support. The Apprentices then spent time getting to know about the work and objectives of the charities and community groups and were introduced to their Dragon. Over the next few months the teams will work closely with their Dragons to devise business based projects to raise money and awareness for their charities. With guidance from their Dragons, the teams will learn about entrepreneurship, managing a business, communications, finance, organisation and other job related skills, all of which will be of positive and practical value in the next stage of their education and development.

Teams can win awards for the most money earned, most innovative product/service or business idea, best example of close co-operation between team and charity, best presentation and best display panel. After the final reports have been judged by a panel of Super Dragons, six teams will be shortlisted to deliver a presentation at the awards event at Shendish Hotel in Apsley on March 23rd  2015, in a bid to become the overall winner of the 2014/15 Challenge in Dacorum.

Last year ten teams finished the challenge and raised over £11,500 for their charities.  All schools were invited to take part this year and some schools have even put in more than one team. Cindy Withey, project leader of the Dacorum Challenge said, “We’re overwhelmed with the interest and excitement that the Challenge is generating. We’re excited to see what the teams develop over the next 5 months and look forward to our Awards Evening.”

In addition to Dacorum the Challenge will run independently in Broxbourne/E Herts, Hertsmere, N.Herts/Stevenage, St Albans area, Welwyn & Hatfield, Watford. 

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