winners smallDacorum students raise over £10,500 for local charities in Dragons’ Apprentice Challenge

Winners of 2021/22 Challenge announced after budding entrepreneurs pitch to SuperDragons at Pendley Manor Hotel finals

28th March 2022 – Team Sicilian from John F Kennedy School has been proclaimed the overall winner of the 9th annual Dacorum Dragons’ Apprentice Challenge which is organised by Connect Dacorum. The team was one of eight who took part in the challenge and invited to present to the SuperDragon judges - leaders from the world of business, education and local government - at this week’s Challenge Finals at Pendley Manor Hotel.                             

All teams from local secondary schools were supplied with £100 stake and challenged to turn it into £1,000 or more, with support and advice from mentors within the borough’s business community. 

The teenage tycoons in waiting stepped up to tackle a charity challenge and were showered with praise on Monday night.  The SuperDragons were impressed with their all round business abilities as well as the confident way in which they presented themselves, always representing their charity.  Especially tough this year with the covid restrictions in place throughout the challenge, the teams showed determination and perseverance in their aim to raise as much money as possible for their charity.

Cllr Richard Roberts, Leader of Hertfordshire County Council, presented the awards and inspired the audience of young people, businesses and charities by emphasising the practical value of the Dragons’ Apprentice Challenge. Presentations at the finals night at Pendley Manor Hotel revealed the wealth of business lessons learned by the pupils as they staged everything from sweet sales and quiz nights to boat trips and chess tournaments.

Named as overall winners on the night were the team from John F Kennedy School, who scooped a Snow Centre snowboarding and ringos session for their efforts in support of Watford FC Community Trust.  Their Dragon was Jamie Dean-Brown from SWARCO who said “I am so proud of the team, they threw themselves into the challenge and came away with a multitude of new skills such as communication, teamwork and perseverance, learning continually throughout the challenge on how they can improve the next event. They’ve learnt skills for life from this process and I am chuffed to bits that all their hard work has seen them win overall.”

Other winners were: 

Most Money raised:  Ashlyns Enterprise from Ashlyns School who raised £3140.00 for their charity Community Action Dacorum.  Their Dragon was John English from Whitestar Solutions.

Best Business idea:  Sicilian from John F Kennedy School. Their Dragon was Jamie Dean-Brown from SWARCO and their charity was Watford FC Community Trust

Close Co-operation with Charity: Pallas from John F Kennedy School.  Their Dragon was Robert Males from Underwoods Solicitors and their charity was The Hospice of St Francis

Best Display:  Custom Crafted from John F Kennedy School. Their Dragon was Harry Dear from Metro Bank and their charity was The Blue Tangerine Federation

Best Presentation:  5G from Sir John Lawes School.  Their Dragon was Computacentre and their charity was Gaddesden Place RDA.

Most Resilient – Sail Out from Ashlyns School.  Their Dragon was Joanne Heary and April Harbour from Atlas Copco and their charity was Waterways Experiences.

As they celebrated their successes all the teenagers agreed that the Dacorum Dragons Apprentice Challenge – now in its ninth year – was both a lot more work than they had ever realised but a test that both developed their skills and gave them a chance to get involved in their community.

Schools who completed the 2021/22 Challenge: Ashlyns, Hemel Hempstead, John F Kennedy, Sir John Lawes.

The teams are supported by Dragons from local businesses including: Whitestar Solutions, Atlas Copco, Hemel Hempstead Business Ambassadors, Underwoods Solicitors, Metro Bank, SWARCO, Computacentre, The Katalyst Coach.

Charities/Community Groups to benefit include:  Community Action Dacorum, Gaddesden Riding for the Disabled, Waterways Experiences, Herts Inclusive Theatre, Hospice of St Francis, The Blue Tangerine Federation, Dacorum Mencap, Watford FC Trust

The Challenge is organised by Connect Dacorum and runs annually from September to April. Any schools, businesses or charities across Dacorum that are interested in taking part in Dragons’ Apprentice 2022/23 should contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The SuperDragons for the 2021/22 Challenge were:

Dave Gaze, from the Dragons Apprentice Challenge

Lesley Crisp, Principal Economic Development Officer from Hertsmere Council

Claire Dutton, Business Lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire