Students’ bid to save cash at the pumps...

Nathan Hodgson and Matthew Thornley impressed experts with their money saving idea to cap the amount drivers can spend at the petrol pumps.

Nathan Hodgson and Matthew Thornley impressed experts with their money saving idea to cap the amount drivers can spend at the petrol pumps.

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Going over by a few pence at the pump can be one of those annoying frustrations of being a driver.

But when this pair of Blackpool students came up with a great idea of keeping in budget at the petrol station, executives from Barclays Bank gave them the thumbs up.

The Blackpool and The Fylde College duo’s money-saving business plan got them noticed when they were put through their paces as part of Barclays’ money skills Built For Business competition.

In a similar fashion to apprentices facing Lord Alan Sugar or business hopefuls pitching to Duncan Bannatyne from Dragon’s Den, the pair faced a panel of judges from Barclays headquarters at a meeting in Canary Wharf, London.

Matt Thornley, from Blackpool, and Nathan Hodgson, from Poulton, made it through to the national final of the Barclays competition after initially devising their own business idea at college.

Nathan, 19, said: “I was shocked and surprised when I found out we had made the final, I couldn’t believe it.

“We were still getting over winning the college competition when we heard the news.

“To be one of 10 teams in the final from 1,000 entries was brilliant.”

The competition involved them being given a theoretical £10,000 budget and explaining how they would develop their idea from the funds.

Nathan and Matt’s pitch, Petrol Penny Savers, was a device attached to the pumps designed to prevent drivers from going over budget on the pumps.

After completing their GCSE maths exam in the morning, the students were whisked off to London on the train just in time to present their idea to a panel of judges made up of senior Barclays’ personnel.

Matt, 21, said: “It was nerve wracking doing the presentation but we got more confident and comfortable when they asked us questions as we knew our business idea inside out.

“We never thought we could have done something like this last year at college, let alone at Barclays.”

Although the students did not win the competition, they say the experience has prepared them for challenges in the workplace in the future.

Matt added: “But if we can get through that then we can do anything.

“It will give us confidence with presentations at university and even with job interviews.

“Employers look for experience as well as qualifications – it has definitely been a worthwhile experience.”

Penny pinching at the pumps – how it works

Nathan and Matthew’s idea was borne out of the frustration of going over budget when filling up at a petrol station.

Their idea involves a device fitted to pumps which allows drivers to select a limit of how much they want to spend.

The flow of petrol would then stop once the requested limit has been reached.

Nathan said: “We pay with cash when filling up and it’s annoying when it goes over your limit.

“We thought it might not be as beneficial to people who pay on card but the executives explained they experience that frustration too. They said the manufacturing is there so it’s something that could happen.”

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