STUDENTS recently entered the den to pitch entrepreneurial business ideas to the South Essex College dragons.

Sophie Taylor, 17, walked away with a £250 investment for her drinks business, Meilleur Coffees.

The iced coffee start-up serves tasty drinks made from hazelnut and coconut milk which claim to add extra health benefits to the beverage.

Level 3 Enterprise and Entrepreneurship students, all part of the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy, presented to the dragons.

Other ideas included a bespoke skateboard building business, selling custom boards and an aerial photography and filming company, using drones to capture people’s property and events such as weddings.

The judging panel was made up of Claire Anderson who runs Clairella Cakes, a major player in the baking industry, Damian Walters, a business consultant and former Thurrock Business Man of the Year, Anthony McGarel, the college’s deputy principal and chief executive, and Katherine Ashdown, the college’s enrichment associate and owner of award-winning business, Sweet Cheeks Trees.

Judges were impressed with Sophie’s professionalism and dedication.

She had taken on a part-time job in a coffee shop before starting her venture to really get to know the business and understand her target market.

Sophie from South Woodham Ferrers, said: “I’m really happy with winning the investment, it feels like all the effort paid off. I’ll use the money to buy 1,000 branded cups for my coffee so I can start selling and get my product out there!”

For more information about the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy course, visit,