In recent years the Lower Sixth Business students have rounded off the year by holding a Dragons’ Den event where they develop a business plan then pitch their product or service to an external business audience in the John Moore Theatre. The Covid-19 crisis obviously changed the normal way of working, but the Department decided the event had proved of such value in developing students’ business awareness and all-round skills that it was worth continuing with it, albeit via Microsoft Teams. This decision proved to be a wise one, as the Lower Sixth Business students rose to the challenge and produced some innovative ideas and wonderful business plans. Their presentations were viewed “live” earlier this week by four Dragons with a wide range of business experience from a range of different sectors, to whom the School owes a huge debt of gratitude. The four Dragons were:
- Jodie Wrout, property entrepreneur
- Vicky Longster (OV), Virgin Atlantic
- John Roberts, NFU Mutual
- Martin Sharples, founding director of Amazon.co.uk
On the final day of term, Martin spoke to all Business students, via Teams, to give them the Dragons’ feedback and to announce the results. Martin explained that the Dragons had really liked “the way the students had adapted to the current pandemic and looked for commercial opportunities within that environment…coming up with plans which also contributed to wider community and society”. He said the Dragons were “blown away by the quality of presentations and the maturity shown in responding to questions”. In a very close contest, the team chosen as the winners of King’s Dragons’ Den 2020 were Build-a-Bar, who pitched a garden accessory which filled a gap in the market created by the current challenges in the hospitality sector. This team provided a very slick presentation and impressed with both the quality of their product and also the ethics of their business, with a clear commitment to supporting employment in the local area. The Build-a-Bar team comprised Managing Director, Charlotte MacDonald, Jess Brown, Arun Saimbi and Owen Marles. Unanimously positive feedback received after the event indicated that all thirty Lower Sixth Business students had found King’s Dragons’ Den 2020 to be very challenging, but also a truly enriching learning experience.