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.