The Athenaeum Junior Dragons’ Den

This week the Liverpool Athenaeum hosted the very first Junior Dragons’ Den. This inspirational project has been established with the help of the Liverpool School’s Parliament and the recently-launched Mayoral Youth Fund. Its aim is to promote entrepreneurialism within the city’s junior schools and encourage charitable engagement between pupils and their local communities. Our maiden Den saw four Merseyside schools pitch their ideas to a panel of Athenaeum proprietors and student ambassadors in the hope of investment.

The idea was the brainchild of Innovation Group Chairman David Roscoe. “After a conversation with the Lord Mayor earlier in the summer I felt the institution could become a leading light in fostering youth aspirations, especially with the upcoming International Festival of Business. After pitching this possibility to the committee, I was able to go ahead and start planning this fantastic event and invite schools in the area to come along with their ideas.”

Children from The Beacon Church of England Primary School requested funding to produce a range of money boxes to encourage saving and emphasised the urgent need for personal finance management. Pupils from St Austin’s Catholic Primary School bid to produce a range of greeting cards and presented the Dragons with their impressive designs so far. Young representatives from Springwood Heath Primary School faced the panel to assist in the production of a CD of their school choir with the resulting proceeds going towards Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. Ranworth Square Primary School pupils persuaded the Dragons to kick start the production of a set of recycled Christmas decorations and the creation of a special sensory garden.

Pupils and Dragons seen after a succssful day or pitching

In total the Den saw £2,400 worth of investments handed out to schools after an impressive day of pitching.

Dragon and Athenaeum proprietor Dan Longman commented, “Ideas such as Junior Dragon’s Den are fantastic opportunities for youngsters across the region to realise their very real potential. With a little planning, determination and belief youngsters can certainly make a difference to their local communities I hope their success today will inspire confidence for many more endeavours in future.”

The schools will return to the Athenaeum next year to update the Dragons on the outcomes of their projects and present the results of the investments. The project deemed to be most successful will be awarded a prize.