Levi Roots helps Canning Town youngsters pitch for £1,000

The young people from Shpresa receive their cheque (Picture: Ben Stevens/i-Images)

The young people from Shpresa receive their cheque (Picture: Ben Stevens/i-Images) - Credit: Ben Stevens / i-Images

Entrepreneur Levi Roots has helped a group of young people from Canning Town bid for a £1,000 grant.

Levi Roots at City Hall (Picture: Ben Stevens/i-Images)

Levi Roots at City Hall (Picture: Ben Stevens/i-Images) - Credit: Ben Stevens / i-Images

The team from the Shpresa project were among five mentored by the Dragons’ Den winner before they pitched their ideas to a panel of judges.

The City Pitch project encourages 16 to 24-year-olds to come up with a business plan for a community project in a joint initiative between the Mayor’s Fund for London and the Santander Foundation.

“It’s the first time I’ve been involved with City Pitch, but 70 per cent of my time since being on Dragons’ Den is doing this sort of thing,” Levi explained.

“I had a look at the outline plans and there are some really good ideas.”

Thursday evening’s event at City Hall was the seventh time the event has been held, but the first one Levi was involved in.

“When they asked me, I said I didn’t want to be a dragon, as I’m the dragon slayer,” the Reggae Reggae Sauce founder explained.

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The 57-year-old also offered advice, saying: “First you need to have a really great idea.

“It’s all about helping young people to focus on their dreams long-term, as most business plans are at least five years.”

The Shpresa team will be combining their £1,000 with £200 from the Jack Petchey Foundation to enable them to split it between four projects.

Project director Luli Nuzi said: “It went really well, the young people enjoyed it.

“They said they wanted to earn while they learn, and they’ve come up with four ideas that they’re going to pilot for six weeks.”

The projects include a Come Dine With Me-style event, fixing old mobile phones and bikes for children in care and a website where they can sell takeaway Albanian food.

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