We held our first school event of the new year at Neale Wade Academy with some eager and fresh faced year 12 students. Only a couple of days back from the summer break the students who have only just started to adjust to life as a sixth former were in good spirits and keen to get stuck in which was great to see.
The concept of the session was to take an ordinary everyday object, such as a watering can, and then turn it into something completely different with a business model and one that was also sustainable and environmentally friendly. Split into ten virtual businesses, the 80 students had to take their random item and create a business plan which would then be pitched to a panel in the style of Dragons Den, which consisted of business volunteers Paul from PS Media and our own Debbie using her background in the wellbeing sector.
With coaching and support throughout the session from the volunteers, each business would go through several stages before they reached the pitch. From concept ideas they moved onto branding, target markets, advertising and finances working as a team and utilising individual strengths and skills. Throughout the session the students delivered on these areas with confidence and creativity. We had a plastic jug turned into a pet carrier, an ice scraper into a technologically advanced make-up applier, a bath flannel into a water purifier for third world countries and many more innovative ideas all thinking outside of the box.
After a couple of hours of setting up their business, fine tuning the designs and taking on advice from the volunteers it was time for each business to pitch to the panel and also in front of of the other teams. After each three minute pitch the ‘dragons’ had the opportunity to grill the teams and voice their views on the products. It was an excellent chance for the year 12’s to receive feedback and constructive criticism. Eventually a winning team was decided who had created a flat pack housing block which was originally a plastic storage tray which would be used in third world countries and disaster zones. Not only was the idea a creative one, the team had also worked well as a business throughout the challenge.
Paul from PS Media felt that the whole session was successful and provided the students with positive impacts on knowledge of the workplace and a great way to develop existing and new skills.