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Sandwell Academy braves the Dragons' Den

News Categories: aspirefuture

Run by BPS Birmingham Future’s Engage Committee, Dragons’ Den is a one day workshop aimed at equipping school children with valuable group and communication skills, as well as giving them an insight into entrepreneurship. Last month, as part of the Dragons’ Den programme, Shoosmiths’ Birmingham office kindly hosted 24 students from Sandwell Academy.

The students were tasked with preparing a business plan for the launch of a new product, which they then had to present in front of the panel of Dragons at Shoosmiths.

The panel – made up of various professions and industries – included Danielle Owens (Shoosmiths), Hannah Short (Shoosmiths), Adam Rathbone (KPMG), Natalie Merrix (Rewired PR), Eliza Hakes (Contracts Specialist, University of Warwick) and Charlotte Watkins (Events, Birmingham City University).

Students presented their ideas on packaging, branding and advertising, before asking the panel of Dragons for investment. Following a serious grilling from the panel, a winning team was announced and the winners went home with an armful of Shoosmiths goodies.

At the end of the day, students were given the opportunity to turn the tables and quiz the Dragons about their careers and time at school. Rebecca Hawkins, a trainee solicitor at Shoosmiths and a member of the Engage Committee, said: “It was a pleasure to have the students with us in the office. They were all understandably very nervous but had some brilliant ideas and answered a few tough questions from the panel. It was great to see such talent at their age and it was clear they had all benefitted from taking part in the programme”.

Laura Walsh, business teacher at Sandwell Academy, added: “Our thanks go to Shoosmiths and BPS Birmingham Future for a fantastic afternoon! This was a great opportunity for our GCSE Business students to put into practice some of the marketing, sales and finance theory they are learning at school and see how all these elements fit together when businesses bring products to the market. It was lovely to see the students grow in confidence when presenting and receive constructive feedback from all the Dragons. They thoroughly enjoyed being in a professional environment and talked non-stop about their experience on the way home.”

To see the Dragons in action, take a look at Sandwell Academy’s weekly broadcast video.