After a successful first day of sales, and positive feedback from customers who tested the products, my ambition and motivation grew further. There was only weeks left until The Student Enterprise Awards final and the pressure was on to perfect the products and enhance sales as much as possible. We sold the products at school events, local markets, shopping centres and found suitable retailers to stock the products also. Luckily people were willing to support a new young enterprise, as my negotiation and sales skills at the time were pretty much non-existent.
Student Enterprise Awards Final
The night before the final arrived and I was up all night perfecting my pitch, point of sales stands and presentations. The day came and I was competing against over 50 other companies (all set up by students). I remember being one of the last people to be interviewed by the judges and I tried my best to nail it, despite my nerves.
The hard work payed off as I received my first award for my business.
I was grateful for this and proud of what I had achieved, but a part of me was telling myself that it wasn’t enough. All of the other students discontinued their businesses and just shared whatever profits they had between them. I knew if I wanted to be successful then that wasn’t an option for me. But I couldn’t succeed by myself. My ambitions were high and I was out of my depth at only 15 years old. I needed investment and expertise from someone who had the resources and knowledge to help me. I remember growing up always watching shows, such as Dragons Den and Shark Tank, and always imagined myself being on them. I just never had an idea to present to them. Until then.
After hours and pages of application processes, I was finally shortlisted to the top 250 candidates and was invited to the all Ireland final, in Dublin, where I had to present my business to a panel of judges. The competition was very strong, but I believed in my business and portrayed that as much as possible in my presentation. A week after the final I had not heard anything, and I knew only 8 people would be shortlisted, out of the 250, to be put through to the show. My chances were slim, and I was giving up hope. Until I came home that evening from school and opened a letter that was left for me.
“Emer, Congratulations. You’re going to be on Dragons Den”