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Dragons Lair 1

Business students impress in Dragons’ Lair competition

Talented Business students have participated in Newcastle College's annual Dragon's Lair competition, pitching their business ideas to a number of employers and entrepreneurs, all hoping for them to ‘invest’ in their business.

As part of their studies, BTEC Business students were tasked to work in small teams prior to the event to generate their business ideas, analyse viability and decide on the most suitable micro-business start-up for them. Teams were tasked with writing a full business plan for their new ventures, including an evaluation of internal strengths and weaknesses, research of internal barriers to success and competitor research. A full marketing plan and financial forecasts were created and each team also had to consider the legal factors of their business idea ahead of the judging day. Each member had an important role to play within their business.

Armed with all their research and information, on Thursday 11 May, our entrepreneurs of the future then had the exciting opportunity to pitch their business ideas to business professionals, which was compèred by Mike Grocott from Intercog. Offering their valued experience and lifetime of knowledge, representatives from local businesses including event sponsors Appointments Personnel, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue, E.A.R Wax Removal, DJH Mitten Clarke, NEIDA, Staffordshire & Shropshire Health Informatics Service, Cyberkiln, Keele University, Moseley Park Academy, Barclays Plc, Vodafone, AIM Technologies all took time out of their busy schedules to act as 'Dragons' for the day.

As part of the tough judging process, students were judged on their business idea, market research, digital marketing campaign, financial planning and forecasting. The four businesses with the highest scores were then invited into NSCG's Boardroom to present their business and be questioned further on the decisions behind their business. The “dragons” went on to select the worthy winners who were judged on their abilities to shine as individuals and most importantly as a team.

First place went to ethical clothing brand, Duck, the only sole-trader in the group. Duck's owner, Taylor Bojko took on the challenge of completing the whole project without a partner. Admitting to "shaking like a leaf" before walking into the boardroom, Taylor soon took control of the boardroom and the 'Dragons' were suitably impressed by Taylor's drive, enthusiasm and attention to detail.

Second place went to Umar's Ice-Creams, who won the hearts with their charm, personality and humour. Harry Byatt, Umar Mahmood Kiyani, Mohammed Ali Raja and Nawaz Syed used their initiative to test the viability of their business at a local charity event as part of their market research, even pledging 20% of all profits to charity. During the winter months, the team also diversify the business to trade as Umar's Coffee and Doughnuts.

Made up of Imy Moran, Charl Morgan and Savannah Richardson, POG Nails bagged third place, and have already started trading and even have their own website with repeat customers for their bespoke, reusable, environmentally friendly products which are made in Imy's kitchen and shipped out in an attractive presentation box. The nails were noted as being of high quality, have the unique selling point of being bespoke and hand-made, but are made cheaply and shipped quickly giving both a high profit margin and high customer satisfaction.

Fourth place was award to Social Smoothies, a recreational bar aimed at primary school aged children and their families, with health eating at the heart of their aims and objectives. The group was made up of Jake Malpass, Tino Mumvuri and Harry Savage. Team member Harry has family connections within the farming industry, who would supply most of the ingredients for the menu suggested.