STUDENTS from six schools and colleges across Cheshire and Warrington took part in a Dragon's Den style competition at Cheshire Oaks.

And it was the Wilmslow team’s idea of a handmade sustainable dog toy set made from recycled materials that caught the the judges’ attention.

Students have been participating in the Young Enterprise Company Programme, setting up and running their own real life enterprises, from dog toys to bamboo straws, have sourced materials, designed products, created business plans and marketed to the public.

The competition provides them with an opportunity to present to a panel of business people and consumers.

The participants will be joining further students in April as they compete for top honours in the Cheshire and Warrington county finals of this year’s Young Enterprise Company Programme.

Young Enterprise works with more than 250,000 students every year and thousands of young people aged 15-19 from across the country have set up and run a real business or social enterprise with Company Programme - Young Enterprise’s flagship enterprise education programme supported nationally by HSBC.

Joy Reed, of Cheshire Oaks and member of Young Enterprise board in Cheshire and Warrington, said: “We were delighted to host the Dragons Den at Cheshire Oaks and to support these brilliant budding entrepreneurs from across Cheshire and Warrington. We can’t wait to see how they get on in the competition in April and wish them luck.”

Suzanne Lockwood, area manager for C+W at Young Enterprise, said: “I am always impressed by the quality of business idea that the students come up with, it’s not an easy task, yet they always rise to the challenge. It's the ultimate measure of many months of hard work, representing their creativity, resilience and business acumen - I wish them the best of luck.

“Our new strategy, No Time Like The Future, demonstrates that, in this rapidly changing world, this generation believes that education alone is not enough. Almost half of young people say education has not prepared them for the world of work, according to YouGov. So Young Enterprise are doing our part to help give them the skills they need to thrive in the future.

“You don’t get this stuff from a text book and we are greatly encouraged by our research which shows that 95% of Company alumni go on to education, employment or training - 7% higher than the national average of 88%.”