Enterprising students stepped into the Dragons’ Den to take part in a New City College inter-campus business challenge held as part of National Apprenticeship Week.
The students – all studying Level 3 BTEC Business – had to come up with an idea for a new facility or service at their own college campus in an all-day challenge that was a cross between TV shows Dragons’ Den and The Apprentice.
Each NCC campus entered a team who had to create a name for their idea and then plan, research and finally pitch their proposal to a panel of ‘Dragons’.
Of the six teams (from Havering Sixth Form, Epping, Ardleigh Green, Tower Hamlets, Redbridge and Hackney), the team from the Sixth Form campus in Wingletye Lane, Hornchurch, were selected as the winners with their idea B2B – Beginning to Bank.
This proposal suggested the college partnered with a high street bank to offer a drop-in facility on campus so that students could learn about managing money, including savings accounts, credit cards and credit ratings, leading to them becoming more financially independent.
The winning students were Sami Sheikh, Sabina Clavadetscher, Hayden Musham, Sear Amiri, Ava Handley and Kamil Dlugosz.
Sami said: “B2B would be a great addition to college for students. Many of us learn so much academically on our courses and are offered many other opportunities such as sports, societies, mental health support and careers advice, but so many young people leave college and don’t know anything about banking or how to manage finances.”
Hayden added: “There has been a huge transition in how people pay for goods with online shopping and contactless, and sometimes it’s hard to keep track of what you are spending. Students would really benefit from having bank advisors on site to ask about how to save and manage their money.”
Other ideas from the challenge included NC Films (a cinema on site for students), NCC Eats (a pop up food stall every Friday), Franchat (a virtual hub designed to give support to stressed or anxious students), Chill Spot (a place for students to relax and have fun) and Infinity Gifts (a stall selling personalised items for mental health awareness).
The panel of Dragons were Gerry McDonald, CEO and Group Principal of New City College; Chris Webb, Associate Director of Clark Electrical Industries Ltd; Jamie Stevenson, Executive Director at New City College; and Kemi Dania, from Clarion Futures Jobs & Training. They judged the teams on innovation, research, presentation and pitch, teamwork, suitability and feasibility.
On presenting the certificates and trophy to the Sixth Form team, Gerry McDonald said: “We have been very impressed with the quality of all the proposals and it has been tough to choose a winner. You were all innovative and creative but we felt the B2B proposal was a great idea and the presentation was confident and professional.
“It is quite nerve-racking and scary to deliver a pitch to a panel like you did but you dealt with our questions very well. Public speaking is by no means easy, and you did yourselves and the college proud.”