Get ready for Kingston University Dragons’ Den!

dragons den

The purpose of our December Dragons’ Den is to give you an opportunity to evaluate if your business idea is something that is wanted by your audience, is capable of making a profit and possible to accomplish in the time given.

You will present to your classmates as well as a panel of experienced professionals acting as judges. All teams must be present for all presentations.

To prepare for the Dragons’ Den, you will complete the Bright Ideas competition entry form as your feasibility study and submit for competition AND on Canvas by 23:59 on 1 December. Over the years, teams in this module won £1000s in prize money with this assignment, so it may be a source of funding for your business if successful.

The feasibility study will not be marked as it is a formative assessment, but you will get real feedback from real experts, so do your best!

Here is what you need to know to prep for the Dragons’ Den:

You will have 5 minutes (and not a second more) to present your idea. You can NOT use slides of any sort. We like prototypes, posters and props –  you can bring anything you want as long as you bring it on your back!

You will be “marked” on each category on the Bright Ideas form:

1) Elevator Pitch
Did you clearly explain what you are selling, in a compelling and direct way at the start?

2) The need or problem you are addressing, & the target group
Have you provided key information about the problem or need you have identified, and the market or group of people who experience the problem? Who will buy/use your product or service?

3) The product/ service
Did you provide an outline of the product/service or project and how it meets the identified needs of your market segment? How does it work? What are its key features and how does it benefit the target market?
(storytelling/product demos are useful here!)

4) Alternatives & Competitors
Did you demonstrate an understanding of who your competitors are? Did you then explain how your product or service is different from what is already available in the market? Did you also explain why customers should buy from you, rather than your competitors?

5) Market entry
Did you explain how you will attract your FIRST customers? How will your product/service be made available or distributed to your target market/audience? What longer-term plans do you have? How could it expand or grow?

6) Overall Presentation
Did you, as a team, demonstrate excellent presentation skills needed by entrepreneurs? Will the judges remember your presentation?

Here is the feedback sheet that our judges will be using: dragons-den-feedback-sheet-stage1-2019


Know and understand what your business is and what it does really well. Judges are people, too – don’t bore them, engage them.

Make use of the Bright Ideas Guidelines and think about your financials – judges are bound to ask questions about costs and where you are getting the money from. Be prepared for those questions.

Practice, practice, and practice your presentation as a team. Each team member needs to say something to contribute to the presentation. You need to look and sound coordinated as a team. Show that you are all playing your roles on the team. Also, decide how you are going to answer judges’ questions. What questions do you think they will ask you? Practice.

Avoid business management jargon. Don’t lecture the judges on theory. It is annoying and you will trap yourself. Judges know what it all means far better than you do. You don’t want to find yourself answering questions that you don’t know how to answer.

Bring your product, or your prototype if the product isn’t ready. Think when you are going to show it to the judges.

Dress to look the part. Dress to look like a team. For some teams, this will mean dressing formal, but this dress code may not be appropriate for all teams – it depends on the sort of a business you are. In any case, look like you are serious about your business (because you are, right?). You will also feel better and more confident if you look the part.

NEVER argue with judges.  LISTEN. Even if you don’t agree with what they are saying to you as part of their feedback, you should never argue with them. If you have something smart and valid to reply – great, but please keep calm, and stay polite. Dragons will mark you down if they think you have issues with your attitude. They need to like you, not only your idea. You are selling yourself to them as much as you are selling your idea.

Have fun. SMILE.

Mobile phones off & away. No exceptions.

You will present to your peers as well as a panel of judges. All teams must be present for the entire Dragons’ Den session because this is a learning session. No exceptions – thank you. 

See you all in our team meetings and on Friday!


Photos from the MA Creative Economy Hackathon, Welcome Week 2019

On Friday and Saturday during the Welcome Week you took part in our hackathon with the Surrey County Council. We wanted to show you – not tell you – what Design Thinking for Startups module was all about. The goal: to guide you through the process of working from identifying and framing a problem to an idea and a prototype in under 24 hours. Why: to help you realise it doesn’t take months to get an idea off the ground and a business started – just a clear objective and a dedicated space.

All photos from the two days are below. You can download them and reuse on your blogs with the photo credit:

MA Creative Economy Hackathon, Welcome Week 2019 – photos by Claudia Weaver

Many thanks, Claudia!

Rebecca Imaizumi: 7 things that make a good pitch

I attended the finals for The Mayor’s Entrepreneur Award at City Hall yesterday and here are some things that I learned from the pitches and the interaction between the contestants and the judges that you might find useful in preparing for a pitch in the future.


  1. Anticipate what questions the judges might ask.

Every contestant was asked “what would you do with the £20,000 prize money?” It’s important to know how that prize money is going to be used. The judges seemed to be more interested in ideas that have already been prototyped or tested, rather than purely theoretical. This was mainly prevalent in ideas that dealt with tech or science, where it has been established theoretically but hasn’t actually been accomplished. The judges seemed to be interested in ideas that could really use the prize money to proceed to the next step. For example, ideas that can use that prize money to start production or manufacturing because they have received wide support and interest, and in some cases pre-orders, rather than using the prize money for future research.

  1. Practice, practice, practice!

Not one contestant had a cheat sheet while they pitched. They memorised their lines and rehearsed it many times. As the saying goes, it’s not what you say, but how you say it. Sure enough, the winner of the tech category had a very strong pitch, very calm, very in control, I was very impressed by their pitch. On my way home, I forgot what his idea was until I gave it some thought, but I remembered being impressed and how memorable it was.

Impact is in how you deliver your pitch, more so than the words you use.

  1. Passion is contagious

Naturally, when someone is passionate about their idea it’s more interesting and exciting to listen to. When the “why” behind their idea comes to the forefront and the listeners make that connection, the pitch becomes much stronger, much more real and meaningful. Put your personal story of “why” with a good balance of other important facts about your idea and the pitch comes alive.

  1. Know your competitors

The judges always asked, “who else does what you do? How well are they doing it? If not, why hasn’t anyone else done it?” If you don’t know, then you haven’t done your research. On the other hand, the contestants that answered well also knew their idea very well. Knowing your competitors is also about knowing your own product/service inside and out.

  1. If your idea is complicated, do everything you can to simplify it

Some ideas included many technical jargon or concepts, which were hard for anyone who’s not in the field to understand what exactly it is they were trying to say. Try to break it down so that anyone who doesn’t have any knowledge or expertise in that field will understand.

  1. Be absolutely clear what problem you’re solving and how you’re going to solve it

Some contestants were very clear on what problem they were solving, but some weren’t as clear when it came to expressing how they solve that problem. Articulating the problem itself and how you solve it are equally important.

  1. Have fun and be confident!

The pitches that stood out were by contestants that exhibited confidence both in themselves and in their ideas. Practice your pitch in front of people and get as much feedback as you can before pitching. Practicing is the surest way to gain confidence in yourself and in your idea.

This was a learning experience for me as I had pitched as a semi-finalist in the prior week. I had a cheat sheet then, just in case I got nervous or lost my train of thought. But I realise now that the reason why I needed that cheat sheet is because I hadn’t practiced enough. Most people get nervous, that’s expected and it’s ok. But what makes a good pitch is a pitch that you’ve practiced so much that there’s no way you forget your lines, because it become second nature to you. It’s like singing along to your favourite song. You know it by heart and it’s not a matter of forgetting or not because you got this! The more you pitch, the more you understand your idea and where you want to go with it.

So, the next time you’re going to pitch, give yourself enough time to practice, rehearse, revise, practice, rehearse some more and then practice some more!

This article was brought to you by Rebecca Imaizumi, founder of The Unified Wolves, an experiential design agency that creates bespoke experiences through the performing arts. Follow us on Twitter/Instagram @TheUnifiedWolves, or visit us at for more content like this!

Photo credit: Photo by Matthias Wagner on Unsplash