An event funded by the NatWest and RBS Skills & Opportunities Fund gave seven entrepreneurs a chance to pitch their startup business ideas to a voting audience to win a £500 prize in North Shields. The winners of the night were Bethany and Brandon, both students at Tyne Metropolitan College, who won with their to publish a series of children's stories focusing on morals.

The Soup Dragon event, set up by North East Reach Initiative in partnership with FIRST Face to Face and North Tyneside VODA, was held at The Exchange, North Shields and took inspiration from the TV show Dragons Den and community led SOUP Events originally developed in Detroit, USA.

The pitchers were of all ages, including students from Tyne Met college, and in the audience, there were representatives from local businesses TEDCO, Transmit Start-Ups, Northumbria University, LEAP Marketing Events Limited, North Tyneside Council, VODA ,YourPrint and the Mayor of North Tyneside, Norma Redfearn.

The entrepreneurs delivered a 3-minute pitch to the audience who then voted for their winner of the £500 prize.

The winners of the night were Bethany and Brandon, who are both students at Tyne Metropolitan College, who won with their to publish a series of children's stories focusing on morals.

Charlotte Windebank, Managing Director of First Face to Face, said: "It's so exciting for students Bethany and Brandon who will put the £500 prize to developing their idea further.

"All of the other pitchers got incredible support, advice and a boost of confidence so everyone walked away from this event with something!"

Bethany and Brandon will also be invited to attend the If We Can You Can dinner on 16th November as the Ideas Prize Winner, where their idea will be presented to 200 businesses and potential investors who can pledge their support or funding towards it.

First Face to Face is an organisation based in Queen Alexandra College Sixth Form, North Shields, designed to encourage young enterprise in the North East by delivering workshops on public speaking and idea generation to improve the confidence and to support young people wanting to start a business.

North East Reach Initiative is a project set up by First Face to Face as a work placement made up of four unemployed people working together to deliver workshops and manage events aimed to promote services and support for people interested in setting up their own business.

Any young people, teachers or mentors who would like to find out about the support available can contact Alice on 07922090726 or visit www.firstfacetoface.co.uk for more information.’