Millfield BTEC Business and Entrepreneurship student Ailbe has made it through as one of only five finalists in the national Peter Jones Foundation National Entrepreneur of the Year competition.
The seventeen-year-old Lower Sixth student, who is only one round away from securing £5000 investment for his sustainable cycling business concept, CogNativeBikes, will now take part in a Dragons’ Den style pitch chaired by Peter Jones CBE, and a network of celebrated business figures.
Ailbe’s idea is a second-hand servicing and repair business that gives retro bikes a new life. Using social media ‘up-cycling’ videos as the foundation for his marketing, Ailbe plans to sell his updated bikes on eBay and Facebook Marketplace.
Inspired by his love of competitive cycling, Ailbe says, “I understand that marginal gains on a road bike make the world of difference, plus, I find that there is nothing more frustrating than when a bike doesn’t run smoothly and efficiently. Therefore, having these bikes running as efficiently as possible will be my main aim. When I replace any parts, my intension is to keep as much of the original style as possible and keep some of the patina wear and tear for the true vintage style.”
The Peter Jones Enterprise Academy, run by the Peter Jones Foundation, is a nationwide network of colleges that deliver specialist courses in enterprise and entrepreneurship. Students are encouraged to set up their own businesses, from which they gain real-life experience of running their very own company.
The popular BTEC course, which is now in its fourth year at Millfield, provides an innovative environment where passionate pupils bring their business theory to life by learning business skills through numerous excursions, guest talks, challenges and workshops. The Department at Millfield is made up of 14 teachers, from a mix of commercial backgrounds, providing a dynamic, interactive learning environment with varied teaching and learning strategies.
Millfield students have had a number of recent successes on the programme, with Enterprising Sixth Form students Matt and Oscar currently in the top three of the national Peter Jones 'Tycoon' Competition with their innovative street food business 'Aroy Noodles', and BTEC students Archie, Fleur and Aggie who recently won the programme’s Flash Challenge competition for redesigning Millfield’s Business Block using the computer game, Minecraft. In 2018, three Millfield BTEC Enterprise and Entrepreneurship pupils met Reggae Reggae sauce creator, Levi Roots, after winning a national Peter Jones Academy award for their ‘Developing a Product Concept’ challenge.
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.
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.”
Learn more about Business at Millfield here.