BUDDING young entrepreneurs from Keighley are preparing to do battle in the final of a Dragons' Den-style contest.

Teams from Eastwood Primary School and Woodville Activity Centre are among nearly 40 from across the district which have won through to the last stage of the Step Up Market Challenge.

Hundreds of young people – aged from five to 19 – entered the annual competition, staged by Bradford Council.

They were challenged to create a product which they could sell on a stall.

Ideas ranged from cupcakes and lip balm to candy floss and mug warmers.

Shortlisted entrants went before a panel of judges to pitch their proposed products.

And the finalists have then worked with business mentors who have offered their skills and support.

The contest – which is open to schools and activity centres across the district – culminates with a market day at Darley Street in Bradford on Saturday, June 28, when teams will try to sell their wares. Various prizes are up for grabs.

Eastwood Primary's team, Lawkholme Landscapers, will be trading hanging baskets and wooden planters.

It has linked its project to a community initiative to improve the Lawkholme area.

Last year, Eastwood won a Keighley schools award which allowed it to sell its product during the peak Christmas trading period.

Teacher Karen Wilson said: "The children have learned the many different aspects associated with running a business, from quality control to pricing goods.

"The team has also learned the importance of producing high quality goods and sourcing raw materials at the best prices.

“We are really looking forward to selling on Darley Street and hope for a similar success to last year.”

Team Woodville will also sell gardening goods.

Teacher Adam Craven told us: "Our experience from the Dragons' Den was amazing. We really appreciated the feedback and came out 10 times more positive.

"We cannot wait for the market day. We are excited as all profits go to providing better tools and equipment for the students next year."

Steve Seymour – manager of Keighley's Airedale Shopping Centre, and a mentor to the Eastwood team – said: “Market challenge introduces students to the commercial world in a supported and managed way and develops their life skills.

"It helps prepare the students for leaving school and perhaps starting their own business.”

Coun Ralph Berry, the council's portfolio holder for children’s services, praised the involvement of businesses in the venture.

"It is fantastic that local businesses give time and effort to help and guide the next generation of entrepreneurs with their projects," he said.

"It's a brilliant way for the teams to learn from the skills and knowledge mentors have from working in the business industry."