Young people from all over the North West are gearing up to take part in a national enterprise competition launched by star of Dragons’ Den Peter Jones CBE.

Teams from various schools and colleges across the region have signed up to take part in Tycoon in Schools 2015 and had business plans approved by the successful entrepreneur Schools taking part include:

 Tarporley High School and Sixth Form College

 Helsby High School

 Winsford Academy

Using a loan of up to £1,000 to help get their ventures going, the students are now preparing for a trading phase that will run from November 2 until December 18.

During this time, they will work to raise as much profit as possible, which they can then reinvest in their business, donate to charity or put towards other school projects.

Mr Jones, whose charity the Peter Jones Foundation runs the competition, said: “We are very excited about this year’s challenge. The quality of the business plans we’ve received is higher than ever before and I can’t wait to see the companies in action.

“The character attributes that Tycoon in Schools promotes are essential to closing the skills gap and improving the productivity of the workforce. I believe that the earlier we get our young people involved in this kind of entrepreneurial activity the better.”

Following the trading phase, Mr Jones will pick the most impressive teams to attend a final ceremony, which has been held at Buckingham Palace each year since the competition

Last year’s entrants were so good that the £1,000 prize money was tripled and split between three teams.

Peter Jones Foundation CEO Alice Barnard said: “We have been extremely impressed with this year’s business plans and I have no doubt that the teams will reach the same high standards as those of previous years.

“Tycoon in Schools promotes vital skills such as good communication, the ability to work as part of a team and, of course, excellent financial management. We have twice as many students participating than last year and twice as many teams, which is fantastic – we’re delighted to be reaching so many young people across the UK.”

The companies that shared last year’s top spot were Mount, from Whitley Bay High School in North Tyneside, Ethical Print, from Westborough High School in Yorkshire, and Retro Cycle, from Queen Anne’s School in Berkshire.

They produced hand-made cruiser skateboards, a community newsletter and a range of household goods made from recycled materials, respectively.

Funnelling 4 Fuel, from Avonbourne College in Bournemouth, won the competition in 2013 with a funnel that turns waste cooking oils into bio-fuel. Earlier this year, the team was nominated for the Observer’s Young Green Champions award.

Mrs Barnard continued: “We are always delighted to hear about the success of former Tycoon in Schools participants. We are all about giving young people the chance to gain real-life experience of running a business and so many of them grasp that opportunity with both hands.”

As well as Tycoon in Schools, the Peter Jones Foundation runs the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy, which delivers specialist courses in enterprise and entrepreneurship at colleges across the country.