Dragons'' Den at THA
“Dragons' Den star Theo Paphitis gave aspiring Watford footballers some business advice today, when he turned up during their school lesson.
Mr Paphitis, who owns stationary giant Ryman, was a surprise guest when students at the Harefield Academy presented their business ideas in their own version of Dragons' Den.
The panel willing to invest real money into the teenagers' businesses included Jimmy and Vince Russo, the chairman and vice-chairman of Watford Football Club; Kypros Kyprianou, Ryman CEO; and Tim Ball, the academy business manager.
More than £7,000 lay in four piles on the classroom desk as four groups of young entrepreneurs presented their ideas and answered questions from the Dragons.
The quintet sampled healthy fruit drinks from team Fruitful, who asked for a £300 loan for three months. Shake It offered the panel a ten to 15 per cent stake in their business in return for capital to help them launch their homemade milkshakes.
And group Bino Optimum proposed to sell binoculars to Formula One fans, with business plans in place for a £500 or £1,000 investment into their company.
There was real money on the table for these Year 10 Business Studies pupils to win, but it was a group of Watford FC Academy players who impressed most with their plans for sports clothing range.
The B Betta team - consisting of 15-year-olds Aaron Tumwa, Trey Horne, Stephan Hamilton and Michael Kalu – planned to stock their range of T-shirts and hoodies at the Hornets' store and promote a message “to be better in sports and education and kick out racism and sexism”.
They asked the Dragons for £250 to launch their products, after already handing out several thousand wristbands at a recent Watford match.
After all four presentations, the Dragons agreed to return to the school to announce who they would invest in.
Speaking about their presentation, the B Betta team said it was “nerve wracking”.
Stephan said: “Once we got into it, it flowed well.”
Vince Russo praised them for their “fantastic” idea. Mr Kyprianou added: “I thought their presentation was excellent, not just the content of their business plan but also they turned out very well. They were very smart which meant I took a liking to them from the start.”
After watching the B Betta presentation, Mr Paphitis said: “I thought it was excellent. For school kids it was fantastic. I would be very happy to wear it and I think they will have a lot of success with it.”