Cerys Andrew, a gifted Irish dancer and budding businesswomen has beaten hundreds of contestants to win the coveted title of National Entrepreneur of the Year 2022. This year saw strong competition with many hopefuls looking to receive the £5,000 investment from Peter Jones CBE, star of BBC’s Dragon’s Den.
Cerys Andrew studies with the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy at Leicester College.
Her business, Little Leprechauns is an Irish Dance School for children aged, 6 to 15 with the aim to combat obesity and promote a healthy lifestyle. Cerys is a professional dancer, having competed at two World Championships, ranking within the top 20.
Little Leprechauns currently provides classes in holiday camps and taster sessions in primary schools. With long-term plans to grow her business into a franchise, the £5,000 investment is a secure start in supporting her business goals. Cerys hopes to use her success in the competition as a springboard to reach a wider customer base, conduct further market research and provide merchandise for her students during dance competitions. As there is only one Irish Dance School in Leicester, Cerys aims to fill the gap in the market with Little Leprechauns.
Peter Jones CBE, Chairman of Peter Jones Foundation, stated:
“Cerys is an exceptional talent who pitched an impressive business plan. She is a great demonstration of someone who is creating a business out of a personal passion.”
Beena Ghattoraya, Programme Lead, Leicester College, stated:
“We are very proud of Cerys here at Leicester College, Peter Jones Enterprise Academy. Throughout the process Cerys has demonstrated passion and a drive for her business. We are looking forward to having Cerys back at the college to support our future students and we look forward to seeing Cerys start her business with the investment. Well done to Cerys, a talented individual who has turned her talent and passion into a successful business with the support of the Peter Jones Foundation.”
To receive a place in the finals, applicants had to submit detailed business plans and demonstrate their ideas for the future. Each finalist pitched their business and faced questioning from the judging panel which included, Peter Jones CBE, acclaimed entrepreneur and star of Dragons’ Den; Dean Richmond, Founder, Pets Corner; Fran Boorman, Founder, Goal17 and David Humpston, Founder, ViewPoint Videos.
Over the years, the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy and NEOY in particular have acted as a launchpad for successful entrepreneurs with previous NEOY winners including: Ross Bailey, Founder, AppearHere, which has gone on to raise over $20million in Venture Capital funding; Ranbir Arora, Founder, Dorm, who received £1million in seed funding to launch his online learning start-up in late 2020; David Humpston, Founder, ViewPoint Videos, who became one of the youngest people ever to receive a Virgin StartUp loan and Priscilla Israel, Co-Founder of Sticky, who recently received £325K of seed investment in company which harnesses the power of technology to solve problems in physical spaces. NEOY was established through a grant from the late Carol Slesser, who was a great advocate for the PJEA and supporter of youth entrepreneurship.
A special thanks to David Humpston, who won the competition in 2014 and has generously paid forward the £5,000 investment he won to provide the investment fund for this year’s winner.