A group of business entrepreneurs were put to the test when they took part in a special event at Banbury and Bicester College.
Five business experts were tasked with pitching a new business idea to more than 100 students as part of Ned Snogard – or Dragons Den in reverse.
Their fictitious ideas included a colour dying service, a breath freshener made up of ancient Chinese herbs and an electronically operated bike lock. The winner was Ken Norman from Brethertons Solicitors, who impressed the students with his plans for an iphone app which turns a phone into a mini breathalyzer.
Among the dragons was Adrian Lockwood, managing director of Integration Technology and chair of the Oxfordshire Skills Board. Adrian was the brains behind Garlic Ghost – a bad breath eliminator. He said: “I’m delighted to take part in this fun learning opportunity, which will be a first-time experience for the panel and for the students. I’ve pitched to investors in the past, and believe in passing the knowledge which comes with experiences like these to the next generation.”
The event was designed to help students understand the art of pitching and securing funding for new business ideas. It was organised by Bicester Vision and Oxfordshire Business First as part of their work to promote enterprise and support skills development.
Placi Espejo, Manager of Bicester Vision said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for the students to have first hand knowledge on what pitching in business is from real entrepreneurs and the a chance to think about questions they will ask if they were in the seat of a Dragon. The students showed great initiative in the questions they asked and you could see how some of them will be the future of entrepreneurship in the Region.”
Rose Turner, principal of Banbury and Bicester College, said: “Today’s young people are likely to need entrepreneurial skills and characteristics to help them succeed in an ever changing jobs market. Initiatives such as Ned Snogard help to bring students into contact with those who have already started out on their careers and who have valuable experience and expertise to share.
“This was a real master class and we are extremely grateful to the organisers and the business people who gave their time to take part.”
Students at the event included those from the courses in business and ICT, media and performing arts, hair and beauty. Students voted for each business idea by raising a red or green card, indicating whether they were prepared to invest.
Rebecca Shea, who is studying a Level 3 Diploma in Beauty Therapy, said: “I saw the event advertised around the college and was really curious. I really wanted to come along and get some ideas about what opportunities there are out there with local businesses.”