The premise for this part of the module was fairly simple. We would spend the day coming up with an idea for a business (ideally themed around some aspect of biological science, as that is the field in which we are all studying), plan it with all the necessary details, and then pitch it to two “Dragon’s” who were guests with experience in business.
The full day started early at the new CoLab in Pontio where we were briefed as above and split into groups of 5 or 6. My group discussed some ideas initially using a sheet of suggestions but ultimately went with my suggestion of a Vertical Landscape/Gardening company that would (in our hypothetical plan) specialise in urban gardens including wall mounted flowerbeds (this was our unique selling point).
Once we had our idea, we were given a large business canvas model (BCM) to plan the more intricate details. The BCM is a plan of 9 segments which specify the particular elements required to make a business successful.
- Key partners
- Customer segments
- Key resources
- Key activities
- Cost Structure
- Customer relationships
- Value proposition
- Revenue Streams
Following this more detailed plan, we then had to devise our “Elevator Pitch”, which is a common analogy depicting the act of describing one’s idea in 30 seconds. To do this, we were provided with an iPad and sent away to shoot a 3o second advert. Once we had finished this, we had to present our business idea to the ‘Dragons’ who then asked questions and gave us some constructive criticism.
The fact that we won the “business competition” within the Dragon’s Den day gave me the confidence to know that my idea was well thought out, well planned and had a good starting idea from which to develop my business plan, which was a separate assignment that I discuss here.
This was possibly one of the most enjoyable parts of the course, despite being worth a very small amount it was an assignment I feel I did very well, not only through the idea but also in my own evaluation of my input during development. I offered many suggestions as well as listening to others. It was an invaluable task that provided numerous opportunities for team work, leadership and time management. All of which, along with public speaking, are exceptionally beneficial skills in the real world – be that in a biological field or in a more business structured role.
It was a fun and engaging activity that provided a real insight into the elements required to put a business together. Our group was even approached after the day by one of the dragons who offered to give us some assistance should we wish to try and make this fantasy business a reality.