UK renewable energy company, Ploughcroft, has set schools across the country a challenge to come up with a concept for a renewable product which could help achieve energy or fuel bills savings for UK households.

The task is for secondary school pupils in year 9 or above, with the prize up for grabs of dinner with Dragons’ Den entrepreneurs Deborah Meaden and Theo Paphitis, at a top London hotel.

Deborah Meaden and Theo Paphitis are partners in Ploughcroft’s business, after managing director Chris Hopkins secured investment from the two dragons last summer when he appeared on the BBC show.

Hopkins commented, “We thought it would be a once in a lifetime chance for pupils to have dinner with the dragons and we have already had lots of interest from schools across the UK.”

“It’s really important that young people begin to think how they can help the environment and this challenge is all about raising their aspirations and demonstrating that there are some really exciting career opportunities to do this in the construction sector. We are hoping that as many schools as possible will get involved.”

The competition, which runs until the end of June, asks teams not only to come up with a new renewable product, but also a marketing campaign to launch the product and promote it to its target market – UK householders.

Hopkins is offering his services as a green construction ambassador and member of the government’s Green Construction Board, to go into schools to give a presentation about the opportunities for young people in construction and renewable energy, as part of inspiring them about the wide range of career options.

All entries will be judged by Hopkins and his team of renewable experts and the finalists will then be asked to present their business idea to him in a Dragons’ Den style pitch. The winning school will then be selected to attend dinner with the dragons later in the year. The runners-up will be invited to an educational tour of Ploughcroft’s Eco Roof Visitor Centre in West Yorkshire.

Any schools interested in taking part should contact Amanda Edwards on 01484 723344 for an information pack or by email: Alternatively, visit the website www.ploughcroft/schools for full details.