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Search is on for next Youth Dragons!

14th December 2015 by Onside Youth Zones

We are delighted to announce we have launched our Dragons’ Den-style competition which will see young people from across the Youth Zone network battle it out to have their product idea created and stocked by a major retailer in over 100 outlets.

We have partnered with electrical retailer AO.com and industry magazine Retail Week, to give our Youth Zones members a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to showcase their creativity and business acumen to some of the industry’s biggest names.

Called ‘Youth Innovate’, the competition will see two teams from each Youth Zone given a £100 start-up grant to develop a new product concept that will go head-to-head with entries from across the Youth Zone network.

‘Youth Innovate’ forms part of our ‘Get a Job’ employability scheme, supported by Accenture and AO.com which has been hugely successful with over 85 per cent of members taking the course progressing into employment, education or training.

The three teams with the most marketable and creative ideas will then travel to London in March 2016 to pitch their proposals to a judging panel of senior industry executives at the annual Retail Week Live conference.

The winning team will ultimately see their product turned into a reality. John Roberts, Chief Executive of AO.com has agreed with some of the country’s biggest retailers that the final product will be ranged in at least 100 outlets. The decision on which retailer will stock the winning concept will depend on the nature of the product.

A dedicated supporter of OnSide Youth Zones, John Roberts is championing the enterprise competition to give young people the chance to put their entrepreneurial skills into practice.

He said: “Being an avid-supporter of OnSide Youth Zones, I know what a real difference they make to the lives of young people. Young people are the future and often they thrive when given opportunities like this. I am excited to see what the young people create and who knows, maybe we will find the next Richard Branson or James Dyson through this process!”

Our Chief Executive, Kathryn Morley, said: “We are absolutely thrilled our young people have been given this fantastic opportunity thanks to John Roberts and the Retail Week team. The young people really will thrive on this and the fact this project will culminate at the prestigious Retail Week conference is something I know will keep them focused to create a potentially career-building product. These type of entrepreneurial competitions are vital in creating the business people of tomorrow, today.”

Retail Week Live attracts more than 1,000 people across two days and features over 100 speakers from household names like Virgin Atlantic, Coca Cola, Starbucks and Harrods.

Over 100 CEO’s from the top 150 UK retailers, including New Look, Ryanair, Ao.com and Boots, are set to attend the event, providing a significant platform for the talent and ideas supported by the initiative.