Students present business projects to industry experts

Mark Fernando presents MedBlog at the Concept Development Workshop
Mark Fernando presents MedBlog at the Concept Development Workshop

Students at Cambridge Leadership College pitched their enterprises to two business consultants this week.

Dan Dearing, of Actualise Consulting Limited, and Alan Bonner, from R3 Consultancy, came along to hear business proposals from eight students at our first Concept Development Workshop. The ideas include marketing handicrafts, fashion and skins for computer games.

Every student at Cambridge Leadership College creates their own business idea which they develop and if viable they are setup with a limited company, in which CLC takes a 10% stake. This event was an opportunity for students to present their existing business projects or a proposed new project to industry experts.

Maaya Sunai spoke to Dan and Alan about her journey so far to establish her radio show MMBiC. She has broadcast a total of 16 shows via Twitcasting, initially aimed at a Japanese audience to tell them about life in Cambridge. Maaya has recently shifted her focus onto sharing old and new music with a Japanese and British audience. In the next cycle she wants to increase her listener numbers and the frequency of her broadcasts. Maaya was advised to try to highlight to her audience what makes her radio show different and concentrate on their USP when engaging with potential listeners.

Next up was Quinn Tonelli who runs a fashion upcycling business. He gave a presentation on his plans for the future to extend his collection and production skills. Quinn has felt a little disappointed that his sewing skills have resulted in the quality of his pieces not being up to his own high standards, he has also had difficulty finding a reliable supply of good quality used clothing. In the next cycle he was advised to improve his supply chain and try to engage with a British audience to reduce costs.

Annabelle Grove and Grace Fernando discuss the development of Deskspace
Annabelle Grove and Grace Fernando discuss the development of Deskspace

Annabelle Grove and Grace Fernando run Cambridge Deskspace a co-working space at 1 Brooklands Avenue, Cambridge. They presented their progress so far and their plans for next year. With two full paying customers signed up a few weeks after registering as a limited company they are keen to increase their client numbers and establish what makes their offering different in the landscape of co-working spaces in Cambridge. Please see their web site for more information.

Joyce Zhang pitched her idea to turn her handicraft hobbies into a business. Her plan is to initially make some key pieces and build up a library of tutorial videos to generate interest in her products. At this stage she is unsure how she will generate revenue from the project but Dan and Alan had a few ideas for her. They also had some advice regarding her concern that her English was not yet good enough to present a tutorial video. It was suggested she could introduce a native English speaker in the video and have a dialogue with them about the handicraft project and this will also help her to improve her English.

Keilan Piper represented Nikita Samakhvalov’s business in trading skins for computer games. Nikita had already returned to Belarus and had invited Keilan to collaborate with him in the new year. Keilan had two days to learn about his progress so far and then devise a strategy to increase their profit.

Our last presentation was from Mark Fernando who pitched his strategy for developing ‘MedBlog’, an opinion-based blog on medical-related topics. Mark highlighted a lack of interest in gaining the technical skills to produce a visually attractive blog instead he had been researching the best existing blog sites to use deciding on Wix. It was pointed out to Mark that he had a natural presenting style that could be used to create vlogs instead of having to make the time to write a lot of content. This is something Mark will consider as he begins constructing MedBlog in the new year.

Dan Dearing and Alan Bonner discuss the pitches
Dan Dearing and Alan Bonner discuss the pitches

Following the students’ pitches, Dan Dearing shared with the students his top tips for putting together a strong case to present to investors acknowledging that some of them were not yet at the stage of acquiring external investment and that proof of concept was still the phase for many of them.

The students also had individual time with Dan and Alan to get further advice on how to develop their concept in the next cycle.
Vice-Principal Andrea Joyce said: “It is so incredibly valuable for students to have the opportunity to present their ideas to real business people who then offer advice and professional interrogation of the concepts. We are hugely grateful to Dan and Alan for giving their time to us today. I have been really impressed with the quality of the presentations put together by our students and also how well they stood up to some tough questions afterwards.”

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