Nelson student receives business award from Prince Andrew

Left to right, Peter Jones CBE, HRH The Duke of York, Irham Sajid, Aneesa Riaz and Ameena Bibi at Buckingham Palace (S)
Left to right, Peter Jones CBE, HRH The Duke of York, Irham Sajid, Aneesa Riaz and Ameena Bibi at Buckingham Palace (S)

AFTER a business success at national level, Pendle student Ameena Bibi has been to Buckingham Palace and been presented with her award by Prince Andrew, Duke of York.

And it wasn’t the first time they met – she talked to the Prince when he visited Nelson and Colne College a few weeks ago!

Amanda and Ameena (S)

Amanda and Ameena (S)

Ameena (18), of Railway Street, Nelson, who is an A-level student in the college sixth form, visited the palace with two of her assistant friends last Wednesday to collect her prize – Peter Jones’s Tycoon in Schools Award for Sustainability.

Her company “Occasions by Ameena” makes and sells bespoke candles and other products. She wowed the entrepreneur with her 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 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 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 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 to London and were excited to visit Buckingham Palace. The prize ceremony was conducted by “Dragon’s Den” star Peter Jones and his Royal Highness Prince Andrew.

As part of the ceremony, Ameena stood before the other contestants and told them about her business and what she had learned 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 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 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 I can be successful in business. I would like to thank my tutor Justine Thatcher who helped and supported me through the entire project.”

The college’s head of business studies, Justine Thatcher, added: “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.”

Tycoon in Schools is a nationwide competition run by the Peter Jones Foundation to encourage and inspire young people across Britain to start a business while at school.

Schools are invited to register their interest for the 2013 competition by visiting: 

You can also follow the campaign on Twitter: @Tycooninschools