I retired in April 2013 after 25 years as a librarian at the British Library specialising in inventions. This included running numerous workshops; writing books on inventions and a work blog; carrying out searches for clients; and one-to-one meetings with inventors. [more]


28 March 2015

Kingston University "Dragons' Den" final

I've just ended my year as a mentor at Kingston University where teams of business students try to run a microbusiness.

The final evening consisted of each team going before one of several panels of "dragons" with a seven minute presentation followed by seven minutes of questions. Six survived to be recommended for a pitching competition, and they had to present for just three minutes before everyone (including the other students) from which two were nominated for a national competition at Manchester. All this is under the banner of Young Enterprise.

The six to get to the second stage were

Fli, headphones and blindfold for use when flying

Oliver George S.A, limited edition watches

Little Steps, who have an animated film for their Ella product, a sloping cushion for babycare

Speacup who have a cute film, stickers that reveal messages in hot drinks

Beebra, a sports bra

Brace Yourself (my team), which makes athletes with bad backs stand up straighter

The winners were Fli and Beebra. Well done ! I liked the films and role play that some of the finalists used to dramatise the products.

I'm sure the students found it a fantastic journey, if a bit of a rollercoaster. We mentors gave them a hard during the year and on the evening -- it's easier to spot omissions if you're not involved -- but realised that they had to learn about concepts like clearly expressing what their product was about, and covering all the major points in product design, finance, marketing and future plans. I did notice on the evening that many of the teams wasted precious time in making interesting but irrelevant comments.

I certainly learnt from it, and picked up some business information of my own, if only from the other mentors.

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