A talented young entrepreneur from East Durham has earned the chance to pitch their business to star of Dragons’ Den Peter Jones CBE.
Sam Prince, 28, studies with the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy at East Durham College and has been chosen as a finalist for this year’s National Entrepreneur of the Year award.
With £5,000 investment prize money up for grabs, Sam will take part in a Dragons’ Den style pitch chaired by Peter Jones CBE, and a network of celebrated business figures.
Sam’s business, Heathen Strength Wear, is a lifestyle brand that provides strong men and strong women with high quality, durable fitness wear. Sam has ambitious plans for the business and is already looking to expand her product line to meet the growing demand in the strongman and strongwoman market.
The judges noted: “Sam’s ability to communicate the vision for her brand is amazing. Matched only by her own mindset and humility. I was so impressed with her journey so”
Run by the Peter Jones Foundation, the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy is a network of schools and colleges that deliver courses in business, enterprise and entrepreneurship.
Peter Jones CBE said: “I’m really looking forward to meeting our five finalists in person. I strongly believe that this country needs entrepreneurial young people more than ever, it is this generation that will incite positive social change and push forward the economy for years to come”.
“The quality of submissions we’ve received for this year’s award has been absolutely outstanding and picking just five to go through was a real challenge.
“The high standard is testament to the depth of entrepreneurial talent that we have across the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy network.”
Sam is in competition for the award with four fellow Peter Jones Enterprise Academy students from across the UK, whose products range from educational games, to fashion and e-commerce, and bicycle upcycling, to packs for children in care.
To get to the last round, applicants had to submit detailed business plans and a five-minute video outlining their ideas and hopes for the future. They faced questioning from business leaders including, Craig Hill, Founder of Landscapes4Learning, who was able to share his experience of securing investment from Peter Jones CBE, and Josh Winfield, Entrepreneurship Development Manager at NatWest.
They will take turns to pitch on the day, before facing 15 minutes of questions on their business from the panel.
Bill Muirhead, Managing Director of the Peter Jones Foundation, said: “We run the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy with the aim of giving young people the skills they need to thrive in the world of work and become our next generation of business leaders.
“These five finalists have not only come up with exciting ideas, but they have put in a lot of time and developed strong plans of action. Some of them are already trading successfully. The final is going to be a fantastic showcase of the young entrepreneurial talent that we have in the UK”.
Previous National Entrepreneur of the Year winners, include Ross Bailey, Founder, AppearHere, which has gone on to raise over $20million in Venture Capital funding; David Humpston, Founder, ViewPoint Videos, who became on of the youngest people ever to receive a Virgin StartUp loan; and Natasha Bates, Founder, EasyRead, who won the competition in 2019 with great acclaim from the judges.