Following on from the success of last year’s Dragons’ Den session at the Warwick Network, staff and students from across campus entered the second Dragons’ Den event last week to pitch new ideas - and even a drenching for one of the Dragons couldn’t dampen the experience.
Four more intrepid entrepreneurs were selected to pitch their ideas for new University-based businesses and service improvements to a panel of Dragons. The panel, consisting of Ken Sloan, Jo Horsburgh, Tom Britten, Geraldine Mills and Delyth Chambers, really got into the spirit of the event by asking the pitchers some challenging questions. But it wasn’t just the Dragons who gave the pitchers a grilling: the audience also got in on the act, offering constructive criticism and some top tips.
Sue Bennett, Director, Student Careers and Skills, was first into the ‘Den’ pitching her idea for the ‘Bid Office’ which is essentially RSS for non-academic opportunities.Sue was followed by Leighton Joskey and Alex Miles, who pitched 'Warwick Ideas Space' a crowd-sourcing platform to generate, collect, rank, rate and comment on innovative, creative ideas for new commercial opportunities and service improvement
The Dragons selected these two pitches to receive their sponsorship and support in order to turn them into a reality – although it was a close run thing! An audience vote could barely split the four pitches.
It was agreed that Tom Britten will work with Sue Bennett to develop the Bid Office as part of the Business Relationship Advisory Group (BRAG) initiative, and Geraldine Mills will support Leighton Joskey and Alex Miles to launch Warwick Ideas Space.
Although ultimately unsuccessful, it was the pitch for ‘Warmbrella’ – a campus based umbrella rental scheme – which stole the show. PG research student Oluyemi Jegede, demonstrated the need for a solution to getting around campus in the rain by pouring water over Dragon Tom Britten.It was agreed that this will be the first opportunity to be posed through the Warwick Idea Space.
The final pitch by PG Business Student, Tuvan Soykan, proposed improving the existing shuttle bus and extending the service to offer a chargeable late night service between campus and Leamington/Coventry. The pitch stimulated significant discussion and Jo Horsburgh, as lead for Keeping Campus Moving, has agreed to investigate opportunities for using app technology to raise awareness of the Campus Shuttle Service, and to liaise with existing service providers to explore improving late night service provision.
Although these were the four ideas pitched at the event, an overwhelming variety of other ideas were submitted for consideration - ranging from a new campus based waste management centre, to a smoothie bar, and from student led graphic design company to document holders in toilet cubicles.
Discussing the event, Ken Sloan, said:
The Dragons’ Den demonstrated yet again that Warwick really is full of immensely talented people and justifies its pre-eminent reputation for enterprise, innovation and efficiency.”
If you have an idea for a new business or an opportunity to improve a service or efficiency at the University, we want to hear about it! Dragons’ Den will return at the Staff Network Day in December so there is plenty of time to get your thinking caps on and come up with some great ideas! Watch insite for further info or contact Michele O’Shea, m dot o-shea at warwick dot ac dot uk.