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Business Students Enter The Dragons Den

Published on Thursday 15 July 2021

Derby College Group (DCG) recently hosted a Dragon’s Den style event for around 150 Business students to present their plans for a new product.

Marresa director Nikki Johnson was part of a five-strong panel of judges alongside Sarah Smith, Bettina Crofts and Marcus Gayle from the College and Merv Sheldon who runs Bridesfayre.

They heard presentations from 31 groups of students who had spent four weeks working with guest speakers, including Nikki Johnson, developing ideas for a product aimed at children and young people.

The ideas pitched included ‘Create and Skate’ - an environmentally friendly skateboard kit which customers would be able to design, paint and customize;  ‘Lil Einstein’ – an educational app aimed at three to ten-year-olds; and a braille alphabet activity game aimed at children with visual impairments; a car play mat and sensory activity packs for children with special educational needs.
Derby College Business team manager Lorna Edwards said: “This has been an amazing opportunity for students to develop their entrepreneurial, teamwork and employability skills- bringing together all the different elements that they have studied into a real-life situation. 

“Over the year, the students have shown a great deal of resilience and this has been a fantastic way to end the academic year.  All Business students embraced this challenge with enthusiasm,  worked exceptionally hard, acted on feedback, had a lot of fun  and executed their pitch.  The Business staff are so proud of all our students”  

“We hope that at least one of their ideas will come to fruition and be launched as a product by Marresa who have been a huge inspiration to the students throughout this process.”

Nikki Johnson, director of Derby-based toy and gift manufacturer and wholesaler Marresa continued: “It was great to see so many different, well-thought-out ideas, backed up by strong presentations covering many business areas.

“Current topics such as mental health and environmental awareness were well explored and integrated into both traditional and ‘out of the box’ concepts. No two presentations were the same and everyone involved should be proud of what they have delivered.”

And DCG work experience officer Bettina Crofts, who organised the event, concluded: “Everyone was totally blown away by the quality, content and professionalism and not to mention the inspiring ideas. Every single student who took part in this project showed great commitment and dedication, they all should be proud of their achievements.”

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