Tuesday, 06 December 2016
All three judges were impressed by the quality of the presentations at this year’s Business Challenge Final. Following on from the Business Challenge Day earlier in the term, during which all Boys’ and Girls’ Division pupils in Year 12 came up with business concepts which they pitched to judging panels, the Final was between the four groups who came up with the best plans at the end of the day.
Since then, each of the final four have worked hard to improve on their initial concept, taking on the judges’ comments and advice to make their business plans even stronger.
All of the teams had prepared a detailed breakdown of their business, including the all-important finances and how much money they would request as their start-up loan. They presented their written business plan alongside a pitch and presentation in front of a panel of judges: Stephanie Foster, an independent career coach; Rob Lord, Partner at Cowgill Holloway; and Phil Warriner, recently retired from BT.
The first business was EdYOUcateME: an online tutoring website, offering school-age pupils tuition from university students for a monthly subscription fee, and benefitting tutors by offering incentives and a reward scheme similar to vInspired in return for their voluntary work on the website. They came up with three projected profit scenarios and had researched their marketing well.
The next to present was Tranquillo, a pillow using scent, soothing sounds, memory foam and an internal cooling system to reduce insomnia. The group had researched each aspect of their product’s design thoroughly, from the materials they would use for each part of the Tranquillow, to the scents and sounds it would feature, and even to the packaging. They had also thought carefully about the production and warehouse costs.
Koko, an app to alleviate wardrobe stresses, came next and offered three functions to fill a gap in the market. The app would be able to coordinate owned clothes into an outfit, find clothes in online stores to complete outfits or create new ones, and find items worn by a friend or even a celebrity. The group explained that no other single app fulfils all three functions, and that they would make their profit via commission on clothing sales through the app.
Finally, takeaway comparison app Matchmymeal was presented to the judges. Matchmymeal would allow everyone to compare different takeaways based on the quality, delivery time or price, or some combination of the three, as well as seeing reviews. The app would again work on a commission basis, based on takeaways ordered through the app, and also have advertisements within the app to generate more revenue.
All of the groups had come up with strong financial information for their companies, and could clearly state how long it would take for them to pay off the initial loan that they were requesting from the panel of judges. They had also come up with a variety of marketing schemes, the majority of which were based around social media campaigns.
When the judges had conferred and were ready to announce the winners, Stephanie thanked all of the pupils for their hard work. She said that she could see the huge difference in effort, structure and delivery from the Business Challenge Day, which she also attended. She also said, “These are the skills that employers are looking for in the future, and you will definitely find them useful. These competitions and evets that the School and particularly the Careers department put on for you really do make a difference on your CVs. I work with a lot of former pupils and they all remember this event and how much it has helped them to develop. Well done to you all.”
Rob also offered his congratulations as well as some general feedback: “You have all done a fantastic job. As an employer, we as accountants and business advisors meet businesses all the time and it’s all about having the passion to execute that idea they have. In all of your ideas you have got that across really well. It’s difficult to nail the funding, so I think the fact that you tried to break it down was really impressive. It’s been a really hard decision.”
Finally, Phil announced the winners. In joint third place, and equal in the judges’ standing, were Match My Meal and EdYOUcateME. Koko took second place. The overall winners this year were Tranquillo.
All of the pupils were awarded a prize for their efforts in the Business Challenge competition, with the Tranquillo team also receiving the trophy.
The Tranquillo team was made up of Holly Errington, Ali Khalid, Molly Marshall, Sean Pendlebury, Tom Ryder, Niamh Scanlon, Charles Shaw and Chelsea Twist.
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