Cumbernauld pupils inspire the Dragons with a Little Bag of Hope

The Our Lady's High winning team of Erin O'Brien, Maria Roos and Lucy McNee with head teacher Danny McNulty, Councillor Frank McNally (convener of Education), Dragons Danny Murphy, Scott Webb, Denise Canning and Joanne Telfer, and Councillor Allan Graham (convener of the Enterprise and Housing Committee)
The Our Lady's High winning team of Erin O'Brien, Maria Roos and Lucy McNee with head teacher Danny McNulty, Councillor Frank McNally (convener of Education), Dragons Danny Murphy, Scott Webb, Denise Canning and Joanne Telfer, and Councillor Allan Graham (convener of the Enterprise and Housing Committee)

Pupils from Our Lady’s High in Cumbernauld won North Lanarkshire Council’s annual Dragon’s Lair competition.

Erin O’Brien, Maria Roos and Lucy McNee impressed the Dragons with their social enterprise Little Bag of Hope to tackle the issue of rough sleepers surviving the winter in Glasgow.

The business would provide rucksacks for homeless people, containing essential items sponsored by well-known companies and there would be ‘filling stations’ throughout the city for people to get refills for the rucksacks.

Members of the public could also pay for the rucksacks online as a charitable donation or as a gift on behalf of a friend or relative.

The entrepreneurial event, organised by the council with support from Business Gateway Lanarkshire, aimed at S3 pupils is now in its eighth year.

Councillor Allan Graham, convener of the Enterprise and Housing Committee, said: “Congratulations to Erin, Maria and Lucy on their inspirational business idea which impressed the Dragons with its simplicity and practical application to a world-wide issue.

“Many of the finalists focused on social enterprises, showing their interest in issues affecting out society and commitment to finding solutions. I commend all our entrants for their initiative and entrepreneurial spirit.”

A total of 72 pupils from 16 schools entered the competition, developing business plans for their entrepreneurial ideas.

These were shortlisted to six teams who were invited to pitch their ideas and business plans to the panel of Dragons made up of Scott Webb from UK Steel Enterprise, Denise Canning of 121 HR Solutions, Joanne Telfer of Ten Live Group, and Danny Murphy from Gordon Ferguson CA.

Runners-up were a team from Coatbridge High School, and the other finalists were two teams from Braidhurst High in Motherwell, a second team from Our Lady’s High, and a team from St Ambrose High in Coatbridge.