A Leicester student has been crowned ‘National Entrepreneur of the Year,’ after impressing Peter Jones – star of the BBC’s Dragon’s Den with her idea for an ambitious Irish dance school.
Cerys Andrew, is a passionate Irish dancer who wants to open her own dance school called ‘Little Leprechauns.’
Eventually, the ambitious 18-year-old hopes to turn it into a franchise.
She recently completed the Peter Jones Business Enterprise BTEC National Foundation Diploma level 3 at Leicester College, and entered the competition which saw her pitch her business idea to a panel of judges, including Peter Jones himself.
After impressing the judges, she went on to win the competition and was awarded £5,000 investment to help her expand her business. The money will be used to to reach more customers, conduct market research, and purchase merchandise for her competing students.
Cerys aims to use dance as a way to tackle obesity and promote healthy lifestyles amongst 6-15-year-olds.
Cerys commented: “It’s been a big achievement for me getting to the finals, let alone winning! It still hasn’t sunk in! I wouldn’t have been able to get this far without the support from the College and my teachers, and I can’t wait to see where this takes my business in the future.
“I’ve been dancing since I was six, and have always had a passion for it. Being Irish it’s something which seemed to come quite naturally to me. I’d love to pass on my passion to others and to open my own school would be a dream,” she told the Leicester Times.
“My vision is to open a couple of schools in Leicester, and then branch out into other cities,” she added.
“I think that if you do what you love as a job- it won’t feel like a job and you’ll be successful.”
Peter Jones CBE, Chairman of Peter Jones Foundation, called Cerys an “exceptional talent.”
“She is a great demonstration of someone who is creating a business out of a personal passion,” he said.
“She’s an exceptional talent who pitched an impressive business plan.”
When asked how she felt about pitching her business plan in front of the Dragon’s Den star, Cerys said: “He’s a lot less intimidating in person than he appears on TV!
“He just wanted to listen to my business plan and I think he was impressed as I have a clear vision of what I want and am passionate about making it happen,” she added.
“He was quite friendly and just really supportive.”