Lower 4 Dragon's Den presentation evening at Bournemouth University Executive Suite - Wednesday 16th March 2016
The aim was to decide on how to use the 4 ‘P’s of marketing to create a product, pricing method and promotional and placement strategies to pitch to a panel of Bournemouth entrepreneurs. The event was generously hosted by Bournemouth University at their Executive Business Centre at the Lansdowne and many thanks go to Mark Painter and Rebecca Walsh for coordinating with us and making BU facilities available.
The girls’ task was to put together a professional presentation to win the trophies awarded by the sponsors, Barclays Bank. We are very grateful to Barclays;to Neil Cradock who coordinated events with BU, and Craig Jamieson who opened proceedings and hosted the evening, for helping make this special evening possible.
Barclays Digital Eagle Labs
Next, the girls turned their attention to the products they would pitch to the Dragons. These could be original ideas or modifications of existing products. This proved difficult at first but, after some slow starts the teams came up with an exciting array of great suggestions to be the next big consumer hit. This year saw the first collaboration with the newly opened Barclays Eagle Lab in Westbourne. The girls made two visits each where they met their business mentors and discussed their plans. They received valuable feedback and professional help to modify and improve on their ideas.
Barclays Eagle Labs ‘Maker Space’
They then worked on developing their products’ design, features and packaging and strategies for pricing, promotion and distribution to customers. On their second visit to the Eagle Labs they were shown the ‘Maker Space’ equipped with computers, 3D printers and laser cutters. This inspired the teams to be much more ambitious in terms of prototype production and making 3D marketing materials. The Lab’s manager, Sharon Jones was an enthusiastic and inspiring helper who made the facilities available to the girls and invited them to send in their designs. Sharon then spent many hours turning the designs into reality and the girls were thrilled with their artefacts of wood, plastic or metal which were tangible focal points for their presentations.
The Big ideas
The teams included products for hair grooming, pet fitness, school revision, rubbish bins for the disabled, shoe cleaning and healthy living. The most notable difference from last year was the shift towards the digital and virtual world of products with a high proportion of the products being web based, apps or products with an app or electronic device attached. These included apps to help with recipes and to shut doors remotely and a website to try on virtual models and then buy the clothes and one to promote a brand of charity school equipment.
The Dragons, who were Damien Lee, founder and MD of Mr Lee’s Noodles, Jo Dickenson, a parent and marketing executive, and Leslie Spiers, an entrepreneur, were enthused and energised by the evening and clearly enjoyed the presentations. They said they found the girls incredibly well prepared, with well thought out business plans and exciting ideas. ‘They are all a real credit to their school, teachers and parents alike. There are certainly some bright budding young entrepreneurs of the future among them.’ All the Dragons expressed an interest in being involved next year, which is a great vote of confidence in the girls’ products and presentations.
In reverse order, fourth prize was awarded to Francesca Rowley, Roya Kolahy and Isabel O’Rourke for their app which enabled people to ask ‘how to do anything’. Third place went to Evie Holloway, Laura Driver and Olivia Burrage’s ‘GoGobin’s for elderly and disabled people. Second prize was won by ‘Dogjog’: Amy Chanoch, Charlotte Glen, Georgina Timberlake-Doyle and Charlotte Feilden’s multi-function dog collar. First prize was awarded to Saskia Green and Edie Lacy’s ‘Bandmates’ attachable and swappable wristbands.
Particular thanks go to Mr John Reidy for overseeing the Dragon's Den project this year.