YOUNG entrepreneurs faced a panel of fearsome judges as they pitched their ideas for budding new businesses.

Business studies students from the Brighton Aldridge Community Academy (BACA) presented their plans to representatives from several businesses with bases in Sussex.

These included Metro Bank, Yomdel, the Bevy, Southern Water, the University of Brighton and the University of Sussex.

Tai Williams described how she had already set up her home-grown business, Tai’s Nails.

She said she had originally offered her talents to friends and family but had already expanded her market after interest from some of her neighbours.

Tai said: “I’ve wanted to do this from the age of seven. My aunt, who has a business in Cornwall, helped me set it up. I started doing my own nails, and then began doing them for friends. I want to go to college to study beauty therapy and then go on to set up my own salons.

“I’d like to set one up on a cruise ship as I want to travel the world.

“I was really nervous before the presentation but I relaxed. The feedback I got has made me more confident that I could make money by doing this and that my business has really got a chance.”

Fellow pupil Rhys Williams detailed his idea to open a pre-Christmas pop-up shop at the school selling sweets, cakes, pastries and snacks.

This would be called Sweet Bay.

He said: “When I went in I had a lot of adrenalin but I focused on getting good eye contact with the panel and getting my ideas across.

“I want to study business at college and take a Business Management and Economics degree at university, so doing this was good preparation for what I’ll have to do on those courses.”

The panel praised Rhys’ presentation with one “dragon” saying they “really liked the ideas and use of graphics.”

The exercise was hosted as parts of BACA’s Enterprise Day, an event which is “designed to give students and staff a chance to try something different”.

Iain Chambers, community projects manager of The Bevy Pub in Moulsecoomb, said: “There were some great ideas delivered with real enthusiasm and personality. Challenges like this are great for developing confidence.”