Students pitch business plans in Dragons’ Den event

Some of the students involved in the event. Picture supplied by Central Sussex College
Some of the students involved in the event. Picture supplied by Central Sussex College

Students at Central Sussex College in Crawley were given the opportunity to pitch their own business plans to a panel of business leaders at a Dragons’ Den style event.

Following the format of the popular BBC programme, students pitched their fully-scoped business plans for feedback, questions and investment.

The event was the final stage of the college’s 3E initiative to promote Enterprise, Employment and Entrepreneurship, which entailed a series of Enterprise activities including workshops and mentoring.

This year judges were Andrew Woodhouse of Hitachi Capital, Robert Cordwell and Mark Hitchings from Lombard, Nigel Clibbens of The Car Finance Company, and Richard Deighton from Inspiration Enterprise.

Vice principal, Dean Wynter, opened the event and said he was ‘delighted’ to see so many people.

He added: “The Dragons’ Den event gets bigger every year, and this year we have more finalists than ever. It is wonderful to see so many future business leaders here today to pitch to our dragons.”

Students presented a broad range of ideas, from a high tech green engine to a new fantasy role- play game.

Business student and founder of Project Trinity, Sean Wicks, said: “It was a great experience. All the work leading up to the presentation really helped me prepare for the actual pitch. This project is something I have been working on for a while, and I really want to see it progress.”

William Harrington Lewin, an IT student behind William’s Register App, said he ‘loved it’.

“The project was very different from the standard lessons. It was lot of work to put together, especially the figures for the cash flow, but I learned a lot from it. It was amazing,” he added.

Judge Nigel Clibbens, chief financial officer at The Car Finance Company, said: “I was extremely impressed by the amount of effort and passion that went into all the ideas and presentations from the students.

“It was very hard to choose the winners from among them.”

Students from across the college were nominated by their respective lecturers to take part in the competition.

Candidates were given a timescale to prepare their pitches, and then were selected in a semi-final by Lombard’s credit management team and Anahita Henry, programme manager for enterprise at the college.

The ten finalists presented their new business ideas to the judges in front of fellow students and staff.

All of the student entrepreneurs faced challenging questions from the panel.

Before awarding the prizes, returning judge Andrew Woodhouse congratulated all the students on their pitches, stressing that the judges were ‘very impressed’ by the ‘quality and passion’ all of the entries.

Best pitch, sponsored by Hitachi Capital, went to Project Trinity and Best Business Plan, sponsored by Lombard, went to Let’s Go.

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