IndiaCoco owner Claire Harper helps judge school enterprise competition

Claire Harper was lead judge in a Dragon's Den-style contest staged for students at Wakefield Girls' High School

porl medlock photography Claire Harper (third right) with fellow judges Dimple and Vikesh Patel (left) and Kathryn Wood (right) and the winning students
Claire Harper (third right) with fellow judges Dimple and Vikesh Patel (left) and Kathryn Wood (right) and the winning students

An award-winning Huddersfield businesswoman was lead judge in a Dragon’s Den-style competition.

Claire Harper, of childrenswear retailer IndiaCoco, also hosted the Young Entrepreneur of the Year event at Wakefield Girls’ High School.

Six teams of girls spent a day pitching their business ideas to a panel of judges to determine which of their innovations were the most marketable.

In the evening, students, parents, teachers and the judges attended the awards ceremony to celebrate enterprise.

Joining Claire on the panel were Kathryn Wood, owner of Mint Salons and The Beauty Rooms, and Dimple and Vikesh Patel, who run a nationwide coffee franchise and have recently acquired Harry Ramsden’s (Yorkshire).

The competition was designed to encourage Year 10 girls in a single sex educational environment to think like “business women” and gain enterprise skills and an awareness of the job market.

The brief asked the girls to look for gaps in the market, to consider branding, target markets, consumer wants and needs and incorporate the four Ps of Product, Place, Price and Promotion.

The audience also heard a motivational talk by Emily Cummins, a young inventor and entrepreneur who was named one of the Top Ten Outstanding Young People in the World 2010 and Barclays Woman of the Year 2009.

The Dargon’s Den challenge was won by team Temperfect with a revolutionary thermostatic baby feeding bottle.

Claire worked as marketing director for nursery products firm Mamas and Papas for five before setting up her own business.

She has also held senior roles at Sainsbury’s, Ocado and Argos.

 
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