FROM tackling food poverty to teaching older people digital skills, Glasgow’s best young entrepreneurs are buzzing with ideas on how to make the city a better place.

The best projects were celebrated recently at Glasgow Schools Dragons’ Den 2023, which took place in the City Chambers.

A total of 25 schools took part and the overall winners were St Bernard’s Primary in Nitshill and Ashton Secondary in Stepps.

Young people pitched their social enterprise ideas to a team of ‘dragons’, comprising representatives of Glasgow Social Enterprise Network (GSEN), the Social Enterprise Academy (SEA) and G4 Claims.

Glasgow Times: Ashton Secondary pupilsAshton Secondary pupils (Image: Glasgow City Council)

The Social Enterprise Academy (SEA) provided workshops to schools to help them to come up with their ideas and bring them as pitches to the dragons.

The young people were then grilled on how their ideas would benefit their communities.

Pupils at St Bernard’s designed and made personalised reusable cups, which they sold to raise money for local foodbank, the Pollok Pantry.

Glasgow Times: Sales of the cups provided funds for a local foodbankSales of the cups provided funds for a local foodbank (Image: Glasgow City Council)

They also ran a community café, where they helped older people learn digital skills.

Elaine MacEachen, headteacher of St Bernard’s Primary, said: “Our pupils and staff have worked so hard to come up with creative and innovative ways to benefit our whole school community.  I am so proud of their commitment and resilience. 

“The support from The Social Enterprise Academy has been invaluable in helping them to achieve their goals and plan their next steps.”

She added: “Having the opportunity to present their projects also provided our pupils with the real-life experiences budding young entrepreneurs will face, really allowing them to develop their skills as the young workforce of the future.” 

Ashton Secondary’s project, Ashton Sewing Solutions, created The Good Pad, a washable and environmentally friendly skincare pad, aimed at replacing wasteful, single-use ones. Proceeds from sales also help a local charity.

Glasgow Times: Ashton Secondary pupils at work on their projectAshton Secondary pupils at work on their project (Image: Glasgow City Council)

Nicola Lavery, headteacher of Ashton Secondary, said: “I am immensely proud of the team who participated in Dragon’s Den this year. Their commitment to finding solutions to worldwide issues was limitless.

Glasgow Times: The sustainable skincare padsThe sustainable skincare pads (Image: Glasgow City Council)

“Throughout the process I have seen their confidence grow and the success of their project has made a difference to the environment, individuals, and families.”

Each school received £50 towards its endeavour along with a certificate, with winners receiving an additional £75, supported by Glasgow's Social Enterprise Network.

Three primary schools were given Highly Commended awards: St Catherine’s Primary, who created St Catherine’s Gifts and Cards to raise money for families in need; Thornwood Primary, whose Social Seeds project helped create a community garden; and St Rose of Lima, whose Art Skills initiative provided families with funds to spend in the Ruchazie Pantry.

Dunard Primary’s Paws-itivity project, which created a comfortable hand protection device for dog walkers, won Best Presentation and Pupils’ Choice.

Springburn Bubbles, Springburn Academy’s car wash project which raised funds to provide a breakfast club for families in need was given a Highly Commended award while Shawlands Academy’s Oomph Blanket, a beautiful multi-purpose blanket created from waste fabrics, won Best Presentation. St Andrew’s Secondary’s COMA Origin, a cookbook celebrating recipes of different countries and cultures, won the Pupils' Choice award in the secondary school category.

Councillor Christina Cannon, convenor for education and early years, said: “I am always so impressed by the creativity of our young people and their enthusiasm and commitment to making a real difference in their local communities and to the planet. 

“The array of innovative ideas pitched at the Dragon’s Den 2023 event was fantastic. The pupil-led programme gave our young people the opportunity to build confidence and develop skills for future learning, work and life.

“Our young entrepreneurs should be so proud of their hard work - I definitely am.”