BUDDING businessmen won the approval of dragons in a contest designed to test their entrepreneurial zeal.

Year 7 students at Darlington School of Mathematics and Science were challenged to find and design a product for a niche market in a move to stimulate interest in GCSE business studies.

Teams had to formulate an idea, conduct market research into current trends and pricing and consider how best to place and promote their initiative.

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They then had ten minutes to pitch their ideas to a Dragons’ Den-style panel including the school’s finance officer Pam Blackburn and chairman of governors Dr David Hall, who also grilled them with a series of tough questions.

Business ideas ranged from healthy food initiatives Snack Attacks and Season Smoothies, to Wash and Ride for bicycles, Mood Mugs, Be Bejazzled accessories, Fun Events and Yolo Gaming.

But the clear winner was 4Ever Onesies, a fashionable, cost-effective and practical alternative to traditional school uniforms.

Team member Natasha Hall, 12, said: “We love onesies and have really enjoyed the process of designing them for school.

“It was amazing to win because I thought the other business ideas were really great too. It has certainly inspired me and I would now love to run my own business one day.”

Headteacher Calvin Kipling said: “All the Year 7s worked extremely hard on the enterprise project and did a fantastic job showing some real talent for business.

“They were full of ideas and their presentation skills, complete with Powerpoint, were excellent. I think they have learned an awful lot which will stand them in good stead for the future.”