Dudley College is the most enterprising in the country

Staff and students from Dudley College of Technology’s Peter Jones Enterprise Academy are celebrating a fabulous triple victory having been awarded the titles of:  National Entrepreneur of the Year, Inspirational Student of the Year and Enterprise Manager of the Year at the national EntFest - the Peter Jones Foundation’s enterprise festival which the TV Dragon hosted at Buckingham University.

Level 3 BTEC in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship student Santis Rolmanis took the top award of National Entrepreneur of the Year for his innovative business idea which centres on a virtual reality immersive environment that allows participants to simulate a job interview and receive feedback as to how they are performing. His product named Confidence VR is already operational and is available as a downloadable application.

Student Warren Edwards was also acknowledged for his contribution to the Academy when he was awarded the prize for Inspirational Student of the Year. Warren is a wheel chair user who has shown great motivation in pursuing his studies; including taking part in an 18-day work experience programme in Saville. He was nominated by fellow students who praised his level of motivation which fed through into their own studies. His business idea of adapting household items such as wheelie bins to meet the needs of wheel chair users was highly commended.

Alongside her students Victoria Greaves Dudley College’s Peter Jones Academy Manager beat off fierce competition to be named Enterprise Manager of the Year as an acknowledgment of the excellent leadership she had shown her learners.

Commenting on the excellent achievements Neil Thomas: College Principal, said: “The college has been part of the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy since 2013 as we feel it’s a powerful way of developing future entrepreneurs with the skills and mindset to run their own businesses. We are thrilled to see our staff and students win three awards for their work this year. It’s particularly pleasing that one of our students was named National Entrepreneur of the Year, for the second year running – this is an outstanding achievement.”

Commenting on the event Head Judge Peter Jones CBE said:  “The country is entering a new chapter. Against a backdrop of unprecedented uncertainty it will be our entrepreneurs that drive the UK’s future prosperity. We have launched EntFest to inspire the next generation on a grand scale. Ultimately, my vision is that the festival becomes a cornerstone in a movement towards a more enterprising culture. Good enterprise education can significantly improve the life outcomes of a young person, whatever path they choose.”

Talking about the experience of pitching in front of one of the most fearsome Dragons top award winner Santis Rolmanis commented: “This has been a nerve-wracking experience. From the semi-final through to the moment I was pitching at the final, I have been so busy preparing for this and everything has seemed to come together. The hard work involved has paid off and I am so excited for the future and to see how my business develops.”

All winners received an individual trophy that was presented by Peter and Dean Richmond CEO of Pets Corner. Santis Rolmanis also received a £5,000 prize to invest in developing his business as well as a scholarship to continue his studies at Buckingham University, who sponsor the event alongside the Peter Jones Foundation.