Last week, New College Taskforce groups took part in a Dragons’ Den style exercise, pitching for a £1000 cheque. The student-led Taskforce groups selected a topic or aspect of college they would like to positively change for the benefit of all students and staff; and in some cases the wider community. Four groups pitched for different areas, including Fundraising, Enrichment, Environment and Mental Health.
Each group pitched their ideas to the panel of Dragons, which was made up of both internal senior staff and external business professionals. The panel included Carole Kitching – Principal and CEO of New College, Russell Fisher – Head of Ventures, Nationwide Building Society, James Phipps – Executive Chairman, Excalibur Communications and Robert Buckland – QC and Local MP. The Dragons assessed the students’ ideas, implementation plans, risk analysis and financial planning, as well as their presentation, rapport building and communication skills.
All groups were commended on their professionalism, energy, enthusiasm and ideas. The Environmental group won best pitch overall, the Dragons felt the team delivered an outstanding, well-structured pitch, backed up with appropriate fact and figures. However, the team were already working with Sodexo and would be able to accomplish their vision without the need or backing of the prize fund. The £1000 prize fund was awarded to the Enrichment group, as the Dragon’s felt the team’s plans were robust, sustainable and for the benefit of all.
The Mental Health and Fundraising Groups were runners up. The Dragons felt that the plan from the Mental Health group required additional thinking and shaping prior to launching the service. However, James Phipps of Excalibur has arranged and paid for the team to attend a mental health first aid course. This will be a great benefit to the team, preparing them for these important roles.
The Dragons felt that the plan from the Fundraising Group also required additional thinking and shaping, before the launch and promotion of the charity fundraising week. However, James Phipps will be connecting the group to a leading youth travel company, who can coach the team and offer their knowledge in charity fundraising and planning.
Joanna Saunders, Enrichment Coordinator at New College said: “New College has a very strong commitment to its students and developing ways of ‘hearing’ what they have to say. It’s amazing that leading national businesses and well-respected professionals supported this initiative and took part in our final Dragon’s Den judging panel. Our Taskforce students had the added pressure of delivering their pitches to fellow students and staff members, but they all did such a fantastic job!"