PUBLISHED 29 January 2024
A record year with the greatest number of teams and competitors taking part and a record total of over £7,000 raised in profits.
The trading and evaluation phase of the international enterprise competition ‘Tycoons’ sponsored by the Peter Jones Foundation is now complete and we await to see if any of our teams will be invited to the final. Here is a summary of the teams:
Christmas Crusaders: I really liked this group as they completely changed their strategy from candles to up-cycling scaffolding planks and crafting some impressive items. Indeed, the quality of their finished products were very impressive. This group quickly learned about teamwork and organisation with production times becoming increasingly efficient. A confident sales pitch and no lack of flair certainly did them no harm. Supporting local charity Papyrus Prevention of Young Suicide. This group achieved an astonishing £4,275 profit - the most an AKS group, if not a Tycoon group, has ever made.
Scentify: an ambitious group that promoted a re-use and re-scent car freshener (can also double as tree decoration). This group learned leadership skills and were always keen to improve their product and sales. I think there will be a couple of very successful entrepreneurs in the future from this group who started out as Tycoons competitors. Just Good Friends is their chosen charity, a long-time favourite of the AKS community.
Glimmering Lights: created quality Christmas-themed candles and melts. They are looking at a couple of future projects too, beyond the competition timeframe. Fair play, they did have to explain to me what wax melts were, and their popularity and they became good sellers. Some good teamwork and leadership skills were displayed by this group. The chosen charity is Doherty’s Destiny.
Christmas Candy Cane: such a charming, simple yet effective design this group made impressive sales from day one and secured some big orders from local nurseries. They worked hard and developed very effective branding and digital marketing. Supporting Helping Hearts Fylde.
Cart Coins: Peter Jones Foundation have already been impressed by this one-woman business. Solving the problem of forgetting coins for shopping trolleys with a double key ring design. Victoria learned self-resilience and the importance of time-management and gained a superb return on her initial investment. All I need now is a solution to stop me from forgetting my bag for life. Supporting Air Ambulance
Holiday Hampers: many of this group were in Africa at the Round Square conference at the start of business planning and trading so they only had a short time to impress and get their business going. A really good product at the right price that suited the Christmas market perfectly. Supporting Highfurlong School.
Bubble Tea Wonderland: Another group who had to convince me about their product as I didn’t know what it was. I really liked their efforts in introducing what might be regarded as a totally new concept, then again plenty might already know of bubble tea. A great logo design too and one of the few companies to offer food/drink who have made a genuine success. It was great to see how they grew in confidence and interacted with potential customers. Supporting Parkinsons UK
The students worked hard over the trading period and competitive instincts are always not far from the surface. It was pleasing to see them looking to sell at external events and Christmas markets. The move to online selling continues and again, many teams gained a lot of revenue selling via social media and eBay. The Year 12 students who take part have a couple of big reasons to be grateful for help and
support from their parents and the AKS community. Special mention must go to the Ladies Luncheon Club. First, each group must pitch their ideas to our very own ‘Dragons Den’ panel. This is made up of some committee members from LLC and it is a daunting task. The students must explain their product or idea and then field questions, all without scripts or prompts, why they have chosen a particular charity (invariably local ones with a personal connection). If the students impress enough, they are rewarded a lucrative stall at the Clifton Arms Hotel during the LLC November function.
The sales at the LLC were superb and we always owe a great deal of thanks for the opportunity. It is always nice to see parents of former pupils and catch up on their progress – some of whom were the first Tycoons when the competition started 9 years ago. It was a busy meeting in anticipation of the guest speaker, Neil White a barrister and crime writer with a growing reputation. Dave the school driver, who kindly gave his time to transport the students, was mistaken for the guest speaker! If the entrepreneurial spirit was truly alive perhaps Dave could have signed and sold a few books, we shall investigate this option for next year.
This is the ninth consecutive year a group from AKS has either made the most profits or achieved the best return on investment. AKS Tycoons have now donated over £30,000 of profits to charities, an astonishing figure. I am immensely proud of the Tycoons efforts and hope they will continue to use and improve upon the skills they have learned in their future careers.