Gateshead College students beat off competition from Gazelle
partner colleges North Hertfordshire College and City College
Norwich to win a Dragon's Den style competition last week.
Business students founded the Barking Mad company, and pitched
their idea for dog walking accessory the 'Wagg Bag' to 'dragons'
entrepreneurs Priya Lakhani and Ben Ramsden, and City College
Norwich Principal Dick Palmer.
Gazelle entrepreneurs Priya Lakhani, founder of Masala Masala
and SOCO, and Ben Ramsden, founder of Pants to Poverty, alongside
City College Norwich Principal Dick Palmer, joined over 100
students from City College Norwich and partner schools and colleges
in a hive of enterprising activity that brought a buzz of
excitement to the StartUp Lounge.
The main reception area of the College was transformed into a
vibrant market throughout the day, showcasing existing enterprises
within the College, from media production companies Interim Records
and the Media Mob, to clothes retailer ego, fashion label Cocoon,
to the Crystal Clean car valeting service and sales of hair and
beauty treatments, flowers and cakes.
After taking in the market, the invited guests had the
opportunity to tour the StartUp Lounge which takes students through
a series of stages in a business start-up "journey", from
developing their concept in the Ideation area, to market research
and business planning, finding and working with partners in the
Collaboratorium, to honing their pitching and presentation
The highly interactive spaces within the StartUp Lounge feature
some of the latest digital technology, including a Dragons'
Den-style pitching room with two-way video recording, enabling
students to not only review their presentation skills but also to
play back the reactions of their audience during their pitch.
Around 60 invited business leaders and entrepreneurs were given
credit cards to spend virtual cash on products and services that
have been developed in recent weeks by teams of students from City
College Norwich, Gateshead College and North Hertfordshire College,
as part of the Market Maker competition.
The top three teams then pitched their businesses to "dragons"
Priya Lakhani, Ben Ramsden and City College Norwich Principal Dick
Palmer in The Studio, watched by a larger audience on the
Intereaction big screen.
Gazelle Entrepreneur, Priya Lakhani, Founder, Masala Masala and
SOCO said: "The education system we currently have is built
to push young people down the traditional route of employment which
isn't suitable for everyone. Young people today have the talent and
creativity required to start their own business, and we need to do
more to encourage them to dream big."
Gazelle has been created by Generator Enterprises, a company
founded by five college principals, including Richard Thorold,
Gateshead College Principal. The other colleges are City
College North, New College Nottingham, North Hertfordshire College
and Warwickshire College.
Gazelle is working with some of Britain's most inspirational
entrepreneurs to ensure that students are equipped with an
ambitious, can-do attitude and prepared for success in employment
in today's economic climate.
Generator Enterprises is working on a blueprint for an
Entrepreneurial College of which the StartUp Lounge will form a key
part. Many of the features of the blueprint have been inspired by
the work of Babson College, the leading American college for
entrepreneurship, and the Kauffman Foundation of