Dragon’s Den

October 27, 2015 / Any Other Business, Retail Trust

Due to our involvement with the retail trust, Lucy and I were invited to take part in a ‘dragon’s den’ style event last Friday. The retail trust have recently launched a scheme in our area which involves giving 20 19-24 year olds the chance to establish a career in retail by offering a full time training course followed by an apprenticeship at a local retailer.
On Friday, which marked the end of one such programme, 3 groups of students, after having spent a couple of weeks researching and preparing presentations, all presented their business ideas to a panel of ‘dragons’. The panel included myself, Lucy, 2 members of staff from Eastbourne College and the mayor of Bexhill, Councillor Watson. The ideas that were presented (all hypothetical) were a mobile burger van in Eastbourne using local produce, a dog grooming salon and a trial video gaming centre. All 3 presentations had clearly been well researched, and although all the students were clearly very nervous they did well to pitch their ideas, some having never spoken in front of an audience before.
The panel were then able to ask questions and make any comments. Once all the presentations had been given the panel conferred in order to decide a winner. Each group had their own strengths and weaknesses, we all agreed that the Eastbourne Burger company would make money and would be a success, however the presentation itself had been the weakest, with the least preparation. I personally felt that despite its obvious success potential, as this was purely a hypothetical exercise it wold be unfair to offer that group the win. The second group; Groom Saloon had done a really great job, their figures in terms of revenue projections were highly optimistic and they had not factored in all the costs that they would be likely to incur, their ideas for expansion also lacked justification. The final group had made a great and confident presentation and the idea showed the most innovation, however we all felt that the social responsibility side of a pay as you go gaming centre was definitely an area which needed to be given more careful consideration. Their work on the logo, company branding and their company graphics was superb and far outweighed anything done by the other two groups.
Finally a majority decision was reached and the winner was named as Insomnia.net, the gaming centre business.
It was so much fun to be part of and it wonderful to see how these young people had progressed as a result of the retail trust programme. Most of the students had secured job interviews in retail for the coming days and hopefully they will have some success.