The successful groups include a Devon-based company selling fire pits made from recycled wheel rims, a 14-year-old computer coding instructor from Glasgow and a poetry publishing house launched by pupils at a London primary school.

Peter Jones sifting through evaluation reportsA spokesperson for the Peter Jones Foundation said: “We are extremely proud of the achievements of this year’s finalists and congratulate them on making it this far. The number of truly exciting and sustainable businesses launched has been extraordinary and picking which of these to go through was not easy.

“This competition has been our most successful to date and following the teams’ progress has been fantastic. We are now looking forward to meeting all these bright young entrepreneurs at Buckingham Palace in March.”

The competition challenges youngsters to set up their own real-life businesses using a loan of up to £1000 – provided by the Peter Jones Foundation – and raise as much profit as possible during a set trading period.

Once trading is over, teams submit detailed evaluation reports to Peter, who then picks the finalists.

The overall winners will be announced at the ceremony on March 14th, which will be hosted by Peter Jones Foundation patron HRH The Duke of York.

Tyre Fires 3Tavistock College pupil Phoebe Sanders, 16, who is a member of Tyre Fires of Tavistock, said:It feels absolutely fantastic to see all the hard work and dedication paying off. As a team we are ecstatic and cannot wait for the ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

“We are currently discussing within our team the plans for the rest of the year, but we hope to continue trading as a sustainable business.”

AKS pupil and Essence Candles team member Thomas Mathews, 17, said: “The whole team will be attending the final at Buckingham Palace and we are really looking forward to meeting Peter Jones and the Duke of York.

“Essence would like to take this opportunity to personally thank everyone involved – we really couldn’t have done it without all the support of our parents, friends, customers and teachers at AKS.”