A Level student Ameena Bibi, visited Buckingham Palace on Wednesday 6th February to collect her prize, The Tycoon in Schools Award for Sustainability.

Ameena, whose company “Occasions by Ameena” makes and sells bespoke candles and other products, wowed the entrepreneur with her savvy business skills, generating fantastic profits from her original loan of seed funding. The enterprising student fought off stiff competition from more than 112 teams to win a Tycoon in Schools special award.

Students taking part in the competition wrote a funding application to apply for a loan from the Peter Jones Foundation and those who were successful were given four weeks to trade and make as much profit as they could. As well as her significant return on the original seed funding, judges were impressed by Occasions by Ameena’s unique products, which were decorated with henna designs and were a clear hit with customers. Ameena sold her products in College during her lunch breaks and at Open Events, in addition to markets and fetes across Pendle.

Peter Jones CBE commented: “This business has huge potential not only locally but within other retailers and market fairs where these types of products are in great demand. I’ve no doubt that this business will continue to be successful and make money.”

Ameena, her friends (Aneesa Riaz and Irham Sajid, who helped on Ameena’s stall at markets) and her Business Studies tutor and mentor Justine Thatcher travelled down to London and were excited to visit Buckingham Palace. The prize ceremony was conducted by Dragon’s Den star Peter Jones and HRH the Duke of York, Prince Andrew!

As part of the ceremony, Ameena stood before the other contestants and told them about her business and what she had learnt from the experience. She said “I can’t even come up with a word to describe how good the day was – amazing doesn’t even come close! We had the best time and it was fantastic to meet the other competitors and see their projects. Some of the businesses were fantastic and to think that mine was considered to be on par with them was incredible. Peter Jones said he thought my candles would sell really well in stores like Lush and Prince Andrew mentioned me in his speech! Plus, the Royal Aid said that the candle I gave Prince Andrew when he visited the College was kept in the Prince’s Office! Tycoon in Schools has been a fantastic experience and has given me the self-belief and confidence to see that I can be successful in business. I would like to thank my tutor Justine Thatcher who helped and supported me through the entire project.”

Head of Business Studies, Justine Thatcher said, “This competition has transformed Ameena; she is bursting with confidence, energy and drive. She took a hobby and built it into a profitable business which has been recognised by Peter Jones as a sustainable business venture. Entering the competition initially was a big step for Ameena and one which she was apprehensive about, but as her business grew she realised the potential she had as a successful business woman. This award is a wonderful recognition of her hard work and determination throughout the competition. The award ceremony at Buckingham Palace, meeting Peter Jones and HRH Duke of York was a truly unforgettable reward.”