It’s known as the Junior Dragons’ Den, and like the CBC-TV series Dragons’ Den, it allows entrepreneurs, in this case, high school students the opportunity to pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges.
On May 10, seven presentations were made to ‘dragons’ at the 2nd Annual Community Futures Peace Liard’s Junior Dragons Den competition in Fort St. John.
While the event was open to both high school and college students, this year’s event only attracted interest from students in grades 8 through 12. The competition was divided into two divisions – junior: grades 8, 9 and 10, and senior: grades 11 and 12.
Jenna Meszaros, a grade 11 student at South Peace Secondary took top honours in the senior competition for her henna tattoo business proposal. Meszaros, who’s has been practicing her art on friends and school mates, say it’s temporary. “People don’t have to get permanent tattoos. They have this option,” said Meszaros. “Hennas are a great way to see how a design might look on a part of the body before, maybe, deciding on something permanent.”
Meszaros is planning to use her top money prize to grow “Jenna’s Henna.” Until now, she’s only really shown off her talents at the Dawson Creek Farmers Market.
Grade 8 student Kail Levasseur from Demmit, Alberta was the junior division winner. Levasseur, who is home schooled, has set up an organic chicken farm at the family’s home.
Although organizers had hoped for more interest, including from post-secondary students, Community Futures Peace Liard general manager Sue Kenny says it’s great to see the younger side excited. “We’re getting those kids in the schools and getting them thinking about other opportunities for careers (like) starting a business,” said Kenny.
Once chosen to compete, the entrepreneurs are then connected with a videographer to create their “sales pitch’ to the dragons and paired up a business leader to mentor them with any strategic planning help they might need, before appearing on stage to answer questions about their proposal.
Below is a full list of the winners on the night: Senior: 1000: Jenna’s Henna (South Peace Secondary), $500: Bear Mountain Lamb Production (South Peace Secondary), $250:(tie) between J-dogs & Waffle Pops (North Peace Secondary) *each receive $125, Junior: $1000: Kail’s Happy Healthy Chickens (Demmit, AB), $500: 1 2 10 Recipes (Dawson Creek Secondary – Central campus), $250: Toques (Tumbler Ridge Secondary)