A picturesque corner of Buckingham served yesterday as the backdrop for the first ever Peter Jones Foundation EntFest.
Dragons’ Den star and the foundation’s namesake Peter Jones kicked off the day with a graduation ceremony that saw hundreds of students from across the UK receive their Peter Jones Enterprise Academy certificate from Peter – as well as a photo opportunity.
Hosted at the University of Buckingham by Sir Anthony Seldon, the day-long event saw the campus transformed into a hub of entrepreneurial activity as students traded from market stalls and guests heard keynotes and panel discussions featuring Shazam’s Dhiraj Mukherjee, Ella’s Kitchen’s Paul Lindley and Planet Organic’s Renée Elliott. Dhiraj’s words of enterprise encouragement were simple, “If you feel like you want to give it a go, make it so.”
The festival culminated with the Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Pitching live to the Entrepreneurs’ Den were four budding entrepreneurs with business ideas ranging from a gluten free baking box delivered to your door to a VR app that lets users practice interview techniques before the big day. In a surprise move, Adam Ali (Kirklees College) and Santis Rolmanis (Dudley College) were declared double winners – both receiving a £5000 investment into their business and, in a generous act, full scholarship to study at the University of Buckingham.
The day ended with the Peter Jones Foundation announcing that EntFest will return next year.