Dragons’ Den is coming – 10 days to go!

Dragons Den

The purpose of  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.

Sounds identical to your Feasibility Study/Bright Ideas entry? Indeed!

You will present to your peers as well as a panel of judges. All teams must be present for all presentations.

In preparation for your Dragons’ Den, you will complete the Bright Ideas competition entry form as your feasibility study and submit for competition AND on StudySpace by 2 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.

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 how it works:

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 –  things you can bring 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 


IMPORTANT:

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 Feasibility Study Guidelines and think about your financials – judges are bound to ask a few 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 2PM – 6PM. No exceptions. 


If you have any questions, please post them as comments below.

See you all Friday!

Connect the dots & start up!

Startup your startups

Tomorrow in class we will register your teams with Young Enterprise, and you will all become startup co-founders. It is a great leap of faith to take, and it will require from you to learn, adapt, develop, and mature very quickly.

Your team and your startup will most likely be your greatest challenge this year. Are you ready?

Theories are helpful to describe what might happen to your startup and your team, but the actual path each team will take will be different.

Personality tests are helpful in an attempt to generalise about who you might be, but your real personality will emerge in relation to the real challenges you face and the attitude you take.

Your CV is helpful to describe where you’ve been and what you’ve done before, but it cannot predict the future – where you go and which skills you ‘deploy’ with passion is, from here onwards, entirely up to you.

Are you connecting the dots yet?

Everything we have done together since the day we met in our first class has been designed to prepare you for this moment – when you take a leap of faith on who you are, who should be on your team, and what you stand for.

 

On our first day together, you were asked to share a little about yourself, and it was a little bit of a CV recital – sorry! ;). Three days later you already understood your CV was as good as a blank page if there was no human story to go with it. No human life is linear and no good story comes without struggle at the centre of it… Who are you and what is your story?

Then, instead of giving you a lecture on teamwork, we engaged in a conversation about your teamwork experiences. We used your experiences to write your team rulebook with ‘the good, the bad, and the ugly’ of teamwork – your MACE16 Team Constitution. You all already know and feel what a good team is. As of tomorrow, if not today – “put words into actions” (from your team constitution).

Our startup weekend was a crash-course designed to illustrate what your MACE experience is about and what it takes. Hard work, no? Genuine curiosity is difficult.

Most importantly though, in only two days you all went through the cycle of uncomfortable – comfortable many times, and as you learnt, connected, and developed – you all had fun, too.

What you and your team stand for is entirely up to you (provided our startup insurance covers it 😉 ) but make sure it is a good investment of your time and effort. Make sure you allow yourself to grow.

For many of you, most of this is new, and as such it is uncomfortable. New country, new way of doing things, new ideas, new you… you don’t need to be comfortable with it all – you only need to be willing to try it all out.

Remember the importance of curiosity, positive attitude, grit and growth mindset, and above all – remember the importance of a bit of fun and laughter, please. You are of no use to humanity if you lose your sense of humour 😉

A final thought for you to consider:

You are registering your startups tomorrow, but MACE is, above all, one big team. We have a big class full of great, interesting minds – let’s make it one big & great team.

See you all tomorrow!

Janja

Congrats all MACE15 teams! Go go go team Emperatigo!

Congratulations to all of you on your success in the Dragons’ Den last Friday!

The feedback from judges is fantastic and full of praise, and we are proud of all of you for stepping up to the challenge!

I hope you will join me in congratulating our team Emperatigo who – as a special treat for winning the Dragons’ Den final pitching round – get to do more hard work to represent the Business School and MACE at the Young Enterprise National Start-up Final at the end of May. 😉

They truly have a lot of work to do to prepare for the competition and they will need all of our support as they rewrite their business report for investor audience, prepare a new presentation (and practice it until they can recite it in their sleep, backwards), and build a new trade stand.

We are usually able to get the whole MACE on the guest list so that the whole group can go to the event on the day – cheerleaders sign up list coming soon 😉

Below are a few photos from the Dragons’ Den on Friday, taken by @Lauraa_Born and published by the Business School – thank you! If you have any photos from Friday, please Dropbox them and send them my way.

And now, before our world gets all hectic again, we are going to take a little break and recharge – we need it all! Enjoy your Easter holidays, MACErs, no matter where you are!

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