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Dragons Den challenge for college students

BUDDING young entrepreneurs were recently given the rare opportunity to pitch their business plans to a college audience, coming after a Dragons Den style challenge was organised by four BTEC level three business students from St Vincent College including a range of local company leaders and representatives.

The students, Melissa Francis, Skieon Richardson, Eric Chen and Willow Gaskin, were inspired by the hit BBC TV show as they grouped together to showcase the college’s business studies course; whilst further hoping to prove that commerce can be enjoyable to everybody regardless of their age, experience, or ability.

It proved successful as more than fifty GCSE students from Bridgemary School (Gosport) and Cams Hill School (Fareham) presented ideas as part of the 10X Challenge; which saw teams deliver their pre-recorded video footage to a small judging panel. This included college business tutors Alison Kent and Iain Sutherland alongside judge Beverley Gent, who represented the growing Gosport-based business Churchers Solicitors.

And the judging panel found it difficult to choose with a sense of delightfulness at the potential on offer from the students; with tutor Mrs Kent stating in a short media statement: “There was a really interesting product mix, ranging from a beach game that had ice creams for sale through to a lemonade stand, environmentally-friendly pens and even an idea for financial services. They were all pitched with energy and enthusiasm.”

Organising the event it was an occasion to remember for all four students as Melissa detailed her thoughts: “We decided to launch this competition because we thought the Dragons Den approach would show that you can have fun in business while giving a useful insight into the business world,” Skieon added: “By putting together a business pitch it gives you a much better understanding of what it might be like in (any) industry.”

Mrs Kent further detailed her massive pride of the students and the outstanding work that they put into the event organisation over recent weeks, which features as part of their BTEC course studies. She told the media: “They had to run an event as one of their modules and they had to come up with the idea, judges, sponsorship, the venue and the PR and they took care of all of that and the management on the day,”

The tutor then concluded her thoughts by welcoming positivity by guests / students: “We’ve had very good feedback from the schools who said the students there were really excited about coming up with the ideas. We’re also very grateful to Churchers for sponsoring the prizes of Amazon vouchers and goodie bags.”

Fellow business tutor Mr Sutherland added his own praise to the students organising the challenge, saying in a short interview: “We are really impressed with the four of them for coming up with this idea, thinking through how it will all work and then persuading us to do it. It’s brilliant how hard they have worked together.”

Readers can find out more about the variety of sixth form courses available for the academic year by clicking the official website of St Vincent College, with the link available to search via:

PICTURED: Judge Beverley Gent from solicitors Churchers with young organisers Melissa Francis (L), Skieon Richardson and Eric Chen. This was taken at 10X Challenge event at St Vincent College, Gosport.