For the past five years Hillbrush has participated in an annual Dragons Den event with Mere First School.
The event takes part over two mornings and starts with the children - ages 10 to 11 - visiting the company, being given a talk about the history of the business, its products, its materials and given a tour of the facilities. Over the past two years the children have also benefited from spending time in the Visitor Centre and Museum where they were able to view interactive videos and pick up and feel the materials we use. After a morning reviewing the company and its products the children then have a short quiz based around what they had learnt over the morning, and then given their challenge to design a revolutionary brush design along with drawings, costs and selling price and also come up with a unique name. Four days later the children return and pitch their product designs to the Dragons who then deliberate and announce a winner. The winning pitch receives a prize and all the children who participated get a certificate to mark the occasion.
This year 33 children took part and were split into 13 teams. Below you can see the designs that were submitted, as with previous years these designs were inventive and interesting, all of them utilising a range of materials which this year mostly centred around reusable plastic and natural materials. The children had a grasp that recycled and reusable materials were important and that having a green product was an important selling point. The designs pitched ranged from household brushes, to hair brushes, a shoe cleaning brush and a vibrating brush for cleaning ice from freezers. The range of designs was impressive and no two were alike - which was impressive seeing these children are all in the same class so you would expect some sort of crossover.
The winning brush was from a team of four and called the Home & Away Brush, it was designed to be used at home or away and was a small compact dustpan and brush set, the brush could be fitted with a telescopic handle and be used as a floor brush. The idea was the whole set could be packed away into a small space so ideal for caravans, small apartments, small houses all of which have limited storage space. The winners each received - courtesy of Visit Hillbrush - a money bank (the Dragons couldn't give them money so instead they have somewhere to save their pocket money), box of crayons and notepad as well as their certificates.
Overall it was a great event and the children and teachers were very pleased with the welcome they received and to see our facilities and products. The teachers did say they were looking forward to next year when a new class of entrepreneurs would be visiting and designing the next generation of brushes.