Edenderry student Shauna Bannon Ward came away from the first of two special Junior Dragons’ Den programmes last Sunday night with an offer of mentoring and a bursary of €2,000.
Fifteen-year-old Shauna entered the den to tell the dragons about her company, Shauna’s Boom Books. Children’s educational books that she creates and sells to schools, Shauna’s books for students aged five to twelve to date include two science experiment books that come with a variety of experiments kids can practice at home.
Speaking to the dragons, Shauna, who’s a student at Oaklands Community College in Edenderry, explained that she’s hoping to develop a geography book initially and a book for children with autism further down the line.
Presenting the dragons with a science book, Shauna got to work on a fun experiment demonstrating the effects of pouring hot water over dry ice.
Part of Shauna’s technique is to visit schools and exhibit various experiments from her books to add a more practical approach to teaching and learning about science.
Having already sold 1,100 books so far, she wowed the dragons not only with her knowledge of science but also her entrepreneurship.
Dragon Peter Casey was certainly taken with Shauna’s project. “I don’t know where to start,” he told Shauna. “I’ve learned so much just reading book one. It’s amazing.” However he decided to opt out, saying Shauna is too far ahead of him for his mentoring to help her. “There’s no way I could be doing any mentoring, you’d spend too much of your time helping me,” he said.
While all the dragons were impressed, it was Barry O’Sulivan who decided to offer Shauna the bursary of 2,000 and mentoring, explaining that he feels the future is to take books online to create more interactive experiments.
Hundreds of students aged twelve to 18 applied for the chance to take part in Junior Dragons’ Den. Shauna was one of just 60 chosen to showcase their ideas at an All-Ireland final held by Bank of Ireland, and one of only 20 chosen to pitch their ideas to the dragons.