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Camden's young entrepreneurs flex business muscles in Apprentice-style contest

PUBLISHED: 11:57 10 April 2012

Next Big Thing joint first prize winner Edgar Agostinho, 16, from Haverstock School, whose business Cheaper Abroad was a hit with judges. Picture: Polly Hancock

Next Big Thing joint first prize winner Edgar Agostinho, 16, from Haverstock School, whose business Cheaper Abroad was a hit with judges. Picture: Polly Hancock

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Young entrepreneurs of the future from Haverstock School have shown their flair for business developing new money making ventures in an Apprentice-style competition.

Students at the school in Haverstock Hill dreamed up new business concepts ranging from a delivery service for independent grocery businesses to a new sports recovery and nutrition product, for the competition called Next Big Thing.

They then pitched to a panel of judges to compete for £1,000 to turn their concept into a reality last Wednesday (March 28).

Joint winner Edgar Agostinho, 16, who was mentored by television investor Iolo Jones, won with his online business that sources cheap designer clothes from websites based abroad to sell in the UK.

The website called Cheaper Abroad is already live and raking in the profits.

Competition organiser Chris Philp, who was the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn at the last general election, said: “There were a couple of things that really impressed us about Edgar. He has the business established online, the idea was very simple and wasn’t one that required a lot of money, so it was practical.”

Other ideas included Primporium, a community outlet and family activity store in Primrose Hill, Veritas Nutrition, a sports protein recovery and nutrition product, and Groceries Express, a delivery service for independent grocery businesses.

Students explained how they now consider themselves young entrepreneurs after taking part.

Joseph Ganly and his team mates Kwabena Boadu and Michael Testa, all aged 17, who developed the Veritas Nutrition business plan, found there was no other product like theirs on the market.

Joseph said: “I think we all feel we came up with something really valid, and this is actually something we could do.”

The student’s great-grandfather invented the foil wrap used on Budweiser beer bottles and he added: “He created that in Denmark, so that’s obviously a big business background, and that rubbed off on me.”

The competition is jointly organised by social innovator Joe Swann and is now in its second year.

This year’s panel of judges included Dan Endelman, vice president of product development at American Express, and Samantha Washington, Sky News broadcaster and former City worker.

Students also benefit from receiving work experience at judges or mentors businesses.

“I think the ideas, the energy and the creativity that the participants demonstrated was really amazing,” said Mr Philp.

“We’re definitely going to be running it next year. The idea is to expand the programme generally around London.”

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