30 September 2019: Eight teams of students from schools in Dacorum will be putting their entrepreneurial skills to the test as young Apprentices in the Connect Dacorum Dragons’ Apprentice Challenge in a bid to raise money for charity.

The Challenge pairs teams of Year 12 students with local business people (a Dragon) and each team is then matched with a local charity or community group. They are then tasked with developing business strategies and delivering their ideas to turn £100 of seed capital into £1,000 or more, with all profit generated going directly to the team’s charity. This year, Dragons come from a variety of businesses which include companies such as Intrepreneur (Action Coach West Herts).

At the launch on Monday 30th September, held at John F Kennedy School, Connect Dacorum Manager, Cindy Withey, matched the teams with a Dragon and with the charities and community groups that each team will support. The Apprentices then spent time getting to know about the work and objectives of the charities and community groups and were introduced to their Dragon. Over the next few months the teams will work closely with their Dragons to devise business based projects to raise money and awareness for their charities. With guidance from their Dragons, the teams will learn about entrepreneurship, managing a business, communications, finance, organisation and other job related skills, all of which will be of positive and practical value in the next stage of their education and development.

The teams can win awards for the most money earned, most innovative product/service or business idea, best example of close co-operation between team and charity, best presentation and best display panel. After the final reports have been judged by a panel of Super Dragons, six teams will be shortlisted to deliver a presentation at the awards event at on 30th March 2020, in a bid to become the overall winner of the 2019/20 Challenge in Dacorum.

456 pupils have taken part in the challenge over the past 7 years and have raised over £76,000 for local Dacorum charities.  Cindy Withey, project leader of the Dacorum Challenge said, “We’re overwhelmed with the interest and excitement that the Challenge generates each year and I’m excited to see what the teams develop over the next 5 months and look forward to our Awards Evening.”

Residents and businesses based in Dacorum should look out for and support the teams in their various activities. Projects might include running stalls at the various Christmas markets, hosting dinners in local restaurants, organising musical events and quiz nights and making and selling refreshments at local fairs.  Teams this year are:


School                                     Dragon                                      Charity

Ashlyns                                     EIC Insurance                            Hospice of St Francis

Hemel Hempstead                  Barnard & Webb                       Cherished

JFK – Team 1                             Sportspace                                Herts Young Homeless

JFK – Team 2                             Just2Connect                            Dacorum Mencap

JFK – Team 3                           Intrapreneur                          Woodfield School

Laureate 1                               Aubrey Park Hotel                     Radio Dacorum

Laureate 2                               Dacorum Borough Council       Mediation Herts

Egerton Rothsay                     Suttons Envelopes                    Alzheimers


About Connect Dacorum

Connect Dacorum is a partnership between the business, public and voluntary sectors that actively participates in creating a better quality of life for all in the Dacorum and surrounding area.

We provide information and expertise on community involvement opportunities for organisations of all sizes and support our members in the delivery of their Corporate Social Responsibility objectives.

We are a project of Community Action Dacorum