Tycoon in Schools winner crowned at Buckingham Palace

Hundreds of school children across the country competed in the competition to show Peter Jones CBE their entrepreneurial prowess and convince him that they were worthy of the prestigious Tycoon in Schools accolade.

Funnelling 4 Fuel, from Bournemouth, wowed the entrepreneur and Dragons’ Den star with their savvy business skills, generating a significant profit from their original funding. They will now receive £1,000 of investment from The PeterJones Foundation to help take their business onto greater things.

The team of six are aged between 17 and 18 and run aneco-friendly enterprise that repurposes recycled cooking oil as fuel to runtheir college minibuses. Funnelling 4 Fuel is working to reduce the carbon footprint of their own school and have plans to take their ideas to a national level, involving schools from all across the country.

After months of business planning and preparation, and an intensive trading period in November, Funnelling 4 Fuel was selected by Peter Jones CBE and his panel of expert judges. When deciding the ultimate winner, the panelconsidered profitability, teamwork, business concept, sustainability and community engagement. The winners fought off stiff competition from enterprising teams all across country.

His Royal Highness, as part of his continued focus on championing and promotingentrepreneurship and ongoing support for the Tycoon in Schools competition, hosted the awards ceremony at Buckingham Palace, to celebrate the success of the young business Tycoons who have now experienced their first taste of starting a business.

HRH The Duke of York, KG, Patron of the Peter Jones Foundation said: “Congratulations to all who took part, you came up with some really interesting ideas that have sparked a lot of people’s imagination. I would like you to realise that all is in the realm of possibility, and wish you the best of luck for the future.”

Awards were also presented to:

  • The Tycoon in Schools Award for Best Teamwork – Avonbourne College, Funnelling 4 Fuel
  • The Tycoon in Schools Award for Community Engagement – Felpham Community College, 1st Response@felpham
  • The Tycoon in Schools Award for Sustainability – Haberdashers’ Aske’s Crayford Academy, Heavy Holders
  • The Tycoon in Schools Award for Innovative Idea Business Concept – Queen Anne’s School, Back into Vintage

Speaking at the awards ceremony, Peter Jones CBE said: “I was delighted to announce the winner of Tycoon in Schools at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace this afternoon with HRH The Duke of York, Patron of The Peter Jones Foundation.

“All of the teams have worked so hard and I have been bowled over by their enthusiasm and achievements throughout the competition. With thousands of students taking party, it has been the most successful Tycoon in Schools yet.

“The Funnelling 4 Fuel team really stood out to me. They excelled in each area of the judging criteria, coming up with an incredibly innovative idea, working excellently as a team and getting the whole community behind them in such a short time frame.

“I wish the team the very best of luck with rolling out their business model to larger organisations and other schools, and I hope that they will generate enough revenue to purchase a new mini-bus. I urge all young, budding entrepreneurs to get involved in Tycoon in Schools 2014 – you never know how far your idea could go!”

James Runnacles, Funelling 4 Fuel team member, said: “We were thrilled to have made the finals, and then couldn’t believe it when it was announced that we were the overall winners. When we all opened our invites to Buckingham Palace we were so excited. We see Peter Jones as a role model so it was fantastic to get to meet him at the ceremony.

“Entering the Tycoon in Schools competition was a fantastic experience. Not only were we given the chance to start up a business from scratch whilst still at school, we were generating a real profit from it.

“We have learnt an enormous amount from the experience, which we hope will stand us in good stead for our future ventures.”

Kathryn Loughnan, Director of Enterprise and Unique Ethos, Avonbourne College said: “Here at Avonbourne Sixth Form, we are immensely proud of the Funnelling 4 Fuel team and their success in the Tycoon in Schools competition. With such a strong group of entrants, reaching the finals was truly impressive and winning overall is a real credit to the commitment of the team.

“They came up with an innovative solution to dealing with a waste product, which not only achieved their green goals and delivered a message on sustainability, but also generated a healthy profit.

“Undoubtedly, the highlight for the students has been to meet with Peter Jones and HRH the Duke of York at such a prestigious venue as Buckingham Palace.”

Underpinned by Peter’s mission to put enterprise at the heart of the education system, Tycoon in Schools is a nationwide competition, run by the Peter Jones Foundation, which aims to encourage and inspire young people across the country to start a business whilst at school.

In 2013, the competition was backed by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, as part of its wider goal to invigorate entrepreneurialism across the country.

Schools are invited to register their interest for the 2014 competition from now, by visiting: www.tycooninschools.com