How East Durham students and their lecturer impressed Dragons' Den star Peter Jones

A trio of talented students – and their lecturer – from East Durham College are celebrating success at a national awards scheme.

By Tom Patterson
Thursday, 30th September 2021, 12:24 pm
Catherine Taylor with Peter Jones
Catherine Taylor with Peter Jones

Students Jake Davis, Katie Davies and Katie Rowan and lecturer Catherine Taylor were all recognised in the annual Peter Jones Enterprise Academy (PJEA) awards.

With more than £7,000 worth of business investment up for grabs, and over £10,000 total prize pot, the young entrepreneurs took part in a Dragons’ Den style pitch chaired by long-standing ‘Dragon’ Peter Jones.

Jake won the Tycoon 3k Competition, after pitching his business, Vital Media, a company that specialises in providing advertising spaces for businesses and Katie Davies was runner-up second in the competition, with her business Personalised Occasions.

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Katie Rowan

Katie Rowan was runner up in the National Entrepreneur of The Year award, with her business Houghall Cross Country – an equine cross-country business, available for hire and competitions.

The Peterlee-based college’s Business and Enterprise Lecturer, Catherine Taylor, was named PJEA Teacher of the Year award – for the second year in a row.

The Peter Jones’ Tycoon competition sees every participant writing a business plan, given a start-up loan of up to £3000, and starting a business which competes with other student companies.

Catherine said: “I am incredibly proud of my students who have worked extremely hard running their businesses whilst studying their Business and Enterprise course at East Durham College.

Jake Davis

"It was amazing to be with them at Hampton Court Palace where they pitched to Peter Jones and a panel of judges. The students spoke clearly and confidently and were extremely knowledgeable and professional in their responses to the questions.

"They were true professionals and I was blown away by their business acumen and ability to network with a range of prestigious investors and entrepreneurs.

“I can’t wait to see the next chapter of their business journeys.”

East Durham College’s students are regularly encouraged to participate in competitions to build their skills and compete against their peers from other educational institutions.

The college offers a Level 3 National Foundation Diploma Enterprise and Entrepreneurship at its Peterlee campus and is one of the only Peter Jones Enterprise Academies in the region – offering a tailored business course framework devised by the business mogul.

For more information on courses, go to