Article by Richard Duggan: A group of Billericay schoolchildren have made a Dragon's Den pitch to an international brand which could now see their product coming soon to a store near you.
Pupils from Quilters Junior School, on Laindon Road, took part in the First Lego League competition, where they were tasked to create a product that improved the relationship between humans and animals.
The Year 6 children created the Fish Friendly Box, a new way of transporting fish from pet shop to bowl. Inspired by one of the pupil's experience of taking a fish home from a pet shop, only for it to die shortly afterwards, they conducted research to come up with a solution.
The box is biodegradable, reduces fish stress by providing more room, and is easier to transport due to its rectangular shape. Its material means that no chemicals will leak into the water, something that can occur from plastic bags used to carry fish. In addition, information is displayed on the box itself which saves on leaflet printing.
Not only did the team win first prize for best product and pitch in the regional heat, their box wowed the judges so much that Pets at Home are considering stocking it in their stores.
The children were visited by a senior manager from the company on January 19, who watched them pitch their innovative invention.
During the pitch, the team presented their own jingle, a TV advert, two promotional cartoons and a PowerPoint presentation, as well as the home-made prototype.
Aquatics Operations Manager Peter Carey, said
"I was really impressed with how much thought they put in to it, they have seen the way fish are taken home and they have thought of ways to improve that. It was really nice to see that they then found solutions to problems. It was really good to see the children taking part. It's going to be run past the product team to see if it has potential to be a product we can sell in stores. There is a long way to go before it becomes a finished product, but they have done some great work in starting it all out."
Headteacher Mike Wade added:
"At Quilters Junior School, we do a lot of work on thinking skills and being creative. We pride ourselves on our pupils' ability to think outside of the box. The 'design a product' competition gave our children the chance to experience product design. Their product was innovative and clever. It really could make a difference as it is both environmentally and fish-friendly. I was really blown away by their ideas in the initial brainstorm and by the way they evaluated and improved their product having spoken to experts and having carried out market research. It was as good as anything on the Dragon's Den. I was very proud of the children – their confidence and determination shone brightly. They make a formidable team. If their product makes it onto the shelves at Pets At Home stores, it will be a remarkable feat for the children and the school."
Read original article by Richard Duggan, Essex Live