Dragons' Den champion praises new Entrepreneur Challenge


Fresh from his success on BBC’s Dragons’ Den, businessman and former Scout Wesley Downham is keen to support Scouts working towards the new Entrepreneur Challenge Award.

If ever proof were needed that Scouting really does teach you all the skills you need, then look no further than Wesley Downham, who has built a successful enterprise and run the gauntlet of the feared BBC entrepreneur panel to greateffect. Now he is backing Scouting’s business-facing initiative.

‘I feel that driving young people to be passionate about business, and about their ideas, opens up a whole new world of challenges, self-motivation and creativity,’ he said. ‘These values are at the very core of Scouting.’

‘Starting something like the Entrepreneur Challenge Award gives young people an insight into the business world and business growth that will help to create a brighter future for both them and the country.’

Transferrable skills

Wesley, who runs a security company in Lancaster, made such a striking impression with his pitch on the BBC programme back in July that all five Dragons offered to invest in his company. He and his business partner left the show with £100,000 of investment to expand their operations.

‘Being a Scout definitely showed me how to work in a team as well as relying on my individual ability. This is the same in business,’ he continues. ‘I also feel that it prepared me to tackle problem-solving and work under pressure. The ability to keep your wits about you while remembering how to tie a bowline in horizontal rain certainly has applications transferrable to business.’

During his time Scouting, Wesley received an Award for Meritorious Conduct; an occasion that he remembers with pride.

‘When I was younger I was very ill and wheelchair-bound for a number of years, but this never stopped me from Scouting regularly,’ he recalls.

‘Due to this commitment I was awarded the Meritorious Conduct Award for my devotion to duty and the courage I had shown through my illness. A huge party was held, attended by my parents, friends and teachers, who were all there to see me receive my award from the Chief Scout. It was a very proud moment.’

Integrity and motivation

And does the entrepreneur have any words of advice for Scouts wanting to follow him into the world of business, possibly via the Entrepreneur Challenge?

‘Honesty and integrity is a great start. The ability to be self-motivated is also vital. In the early stages there may not be anyone looking over your shoulder. You have to know what you want to achieve and how you intend to do it. Above all, be committed and never get put off at the first hurdle.’

More information

The Entrepreneur Challenge Award is open to young people in the Scout section. Run in association with millionaire businessman Richard Harpin, it gives young people the chance to test and improve Scouting skills while offering experience which will stand out in any CV or future job application.

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