Shrewsbury pupils get TV Dragon Theo Paphitis to back their product

Youngsters from a Shrewsbury school who scooped a national youth enterprise competition judged by TV Dragon Theo Paphitis will see their prize-winning product go on sale.

Ryman, in Shrewsbury’s busy Darwin Shopping Centre, have taken delivery of 200 pencil cases, manufactured to a design by Year Seven students at The Priory School.

The imaginative Graphoto zipped cases feature one side which is washable and white, suitable for writing or drawing on and a red side with sleeves for photos – graffiti and photo makes Graphoto.

The six-strong team’s project first won the school’s Year Seven competition in the National Enterprise Challenge which is sponsored by Ryman, owned by Dragons Den star Paphitis, and then went on to the UK final in July.

There they had to make a ten-minute presentation to the judges, headed by Paphitis himself, and their design and marketing plan came out on top out of over 100 finalists from schools across the country.

Amazingly the Priory students only began their project in June – some of the finalists had been honing their project and presentation since September last year.

Carol France, Enterprise Co-ordinator at The Priory School, said: “We only had a week before the final in July to actually prepare for our presentation so the students did phenomenally well.

“Even though there was no guarantee that Ryman would actually produce it, they liked it so much that they have and it goes on sale today.

“We do have a real enterprise ethos here in the school and we do very much try to develop skills for the world of work as well as their academic abilities.

“The winning team comprised a range of talents and also that they weren’t all best friends because when you go into the world of work you won’t always know the people you have to work with.

“It’s been a great experience for them because they have had to address all sorts of challenges from design to production to marketing and then present it to a huge audience which was a daunting prospect but they rose to it.”

The team that came out on top in the competition was Millie Bromwich, Lucy Hipkiss, Charlie Hotchkiss, Tommy Davies, Cam Murphy and Ryan Ligus who were at Ryman in the Darwin Shopping Centre for the launch of Graphoto.

Millie said: “We were a bit nervous about the presentation because there were so many people there, including Theo Paphitis, but it went well and we really enjoyed it.

“It’s fantastic to see it actually on sale now and to know that it is our product.”

Cam Murphy added: “We came up with some great ideas for the pencil case, especially the graffiti one so you can make it look however you want and then change it again.”

Kevin Lockwood, Manager of the Darwin, Pride Hill and Riverside Shopping Centres, said: “It was a brilliant effort by the Priory students to come up with such a clever and original design for something that has been around for so long and to give it such an innovative twist.

“I hope that it sells really well and gets taken up and put into production and perhaps inspires some of them into product design as a career – they certainly seem to have a flair for it.”

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