Friday, 08 December 2017
Five teams of Year 12 students congregated in the Arts Centre for the final of the annual Business Challenge. These teams’ ideas were selected as the cream of the crop from the business plans pitched on Business Challenge Day. Students had just a week to refine their varied concepts and perfect their presentations in preparation for the final, where they had to present their idea once again in front of a panel of judges in a Dragon’s Den style pitching battle to see which business was worthy of receiving funding.
The judging panel this year was made up on three governors, all with extensive entrepreneurial experience: Michael Griffiths, Helen Critchlow and Karen Diggle.
The first team to present was Leads, offering a ‘brighter, better and greener future’ with their app which is designed to unify electric car charging companies. They explained that, at the moment, there are many different electric car charging stations, all requiring their own app and subscription fee to use: Leads would offer a subscription to all of these within one app, for a lower cost than the individual subscriptions.
Next up was Pet Track who introduced their pet collars containing trackers. As well as tracking the pet’s location, which was pitched as a great novelty feature for cat owners curious about where their pet goes during the day or at night, the collar can also send alerts and alarms when the pet crosses pre-set boundaries, to help guard against theft. The team had developed the customisable nature of their product, and were also able to offer a variety of unique security features.
The company Life Saver pitched their product Battery Buddy, an app which allows the sharing of battery power between devices using Bluetooth. They were able to talk confidently about the number of users who might find this useful as well as the advantages over portable chargers; for example, the benefit of it being completely wireless and, as it is an app, not something that can be left at home.
Caterplastic presented their idea to use wax worms to recycle plastic from households in an environmentally friendly way. This business concept was based on research done earlier this year, which discovered that wax worms are capable of decomposing plastic. They put forward their plan to re-use brown field sites, such as disused mills, and sell the by-product of the process to make anti-freeze and polyethylene using partnerships with other companies.
Finally, Kratos took to the stage to show the judges their all-in-one security phone case: offering physical protection, a lining to prevent contactless card payments, a blacked-out screen protector and a holder for money and card. This product would at first be exclusive to iPhone, but has the potential to expand in the future.
All of the teams answered searching finance questions from the judges. They also clarified issues such as development costs and details around prototyping, as well as questions specific to their business ideas and presentations.
On behalf of the judges, Mr Griffiths complimented all of the groups on their brilliant presentations and ideas, and encouraged all of the Sixth Form students to continue with any entrepreneurial ambitions they might have.
He gave brief feedback to all of the groups before announcing the winners. In second place was Leads: Khadijah Ali, Joe Brooks, Amelia Bolton, Lewis Dixon, Kiersten Keogh, Grace Palmer, Manu Panasa and Matthew Schaffel. The judges congratulated the team for thinking of something that will allow them to get in at the ground level and build up.
Winning the competition overall was Caterplastic: Edward Bailey, Sam Brennan, Ben Gidman-Knowles, Alex Jones, Aasiyah Shaikh and Noah Smart. The judges were impressed by an idea which would help to alleviate a major world ecological problem.
All of the finalists received prizes, and the Caterplastic team was presented with the Business Challenge trophy at the end of the evening.
The Business Challenge competition showcases pupils’ teamwork and presentation skills while also allowing them to hone their time management and a host of other entrepreneurial talents.
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