NINE months after volunteering in a Tiverton charity shop, Kyle Power is on the path to setting up his own business after his enterprise talents were spotted by Dragon's Den hotshot Peter Jones.
Kyle, from Tiverton, has been volunteering at the Hospiscare shop in Bampton Street since December 2011, but has now left the team to take up a full-time course developing business skills.
Places on the course – run through a college in Taunton – were in such demand that Kyle had to outshine more than 100 other candidates
Of those who applied for the course, only 20 were personally selected by Peter Jones to attend interviews.
Kyle was among them and had to deliver a five-minute presentation about a potential business idea in a Dragon's Den-style format in front of a panel of four tutors.
What Kyle did not know was that Peter Jones himself was watching, using a small hidden camera.
Of the 20 people selected for the process, only three were given places on the course, with the former South Molton Community College pupil being one of the chosen few.
The course began last week with 18-year-old Kyle given his own office and expected to attend a board meeting every Wednesday.
He will be assisted to set up a business and will get to meet Peter Jones at the end of a year of studies.
The Peter Jones Enterprise Academy is being offered in partnership with Somerset College.
All those who complete the course will receive a BTEC level three qualification in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship.
It was Alan Lee, manager of the Hospiscare charity shop in Tiverton where Kyle volunteered, who first made the youngster aware of the course and its potential to help him realise his dream of starting his own business.
Alan said he was impressed with Kyle's progress.
"Kyle volunteered in the shop every Friday and has proved to be very popular with staff and customers alike," he said. "I have trained him up in all aspects of our business and built his confidence up so he is extremely confident in dealing with most situations."
Alan said he was "so proud" of Kyle's achievement and he said the academy was now looking to Exeter to find more suitable candidates.