Dragons' Den meets The Apprentice
June 2018 saw the return of the highly successful Upper Four Link Programme. This unique programme has been devised by LEH in consultation with Tessa Webb, Chartered Marketer (MCIM) and Associate Lecturer at the University of the West of England. For three days, the girls focussed on learning many new business skills. We kicked off with an inspirational talk and prototyping/problem-solving workshop from award-winning product designer Duncan Fitzsimmons. Duncan is the owner and director of 7TH - Design & Invention, responsible for designing the folding wheel. This was followed by a presentation skills workshop with the talented Mrs Oxborrow and Miss Torrent from the Drama Department.
The event gave the girls the opportunity to grow in confidence, to get creative and to learn how to work under pressure in a team. Tessa briefed our twelve teams on how to create a ‘do-able’ business and brand with £20k and then showed them how to put together a business plan and a marketing campaign. On day two, she was joined by Danni Meredith, a highly successful professional from the field of marketing, Mr Bicknell, Mr Smeaton, Mrs Angliss from the Design and Technology Department, and Miss White from the Art Department. The judges were genuinely impressed by the enthusiasm, ability and clarity of thinking. The teams came up with some highly original business ideas for both products and services, some of which had the potential to launch on a global scale. The judges managed to select four finalists: Dentasqueeze designed a portable tooth brush which stored and released toothpaste; Nova Nutrition created a touch screen gadget that logs items in your fridge, and other functions including information on expiry dates; Innovation 9 produced an innovative website and app called CardPro which secures and purchases gift vouchers so they are easily accessible on your phone; and last but by no means least, the front-runners were Echo and their environmentally friendly tinted moisturiser with added ingredients for skincare for the male and female teenage market. After a nail-biting head-to head, Tessa Webb announced Echo the worthy winners, explaining ‘when we select our winners each year, we ask ourselves the question, could we walk out of here and start this business up?’ Echo had created an excellent business model, prototype, and logo. They even took the initiative to ring Boots who expressed genuine interest.
At the prize-giving, Tessa said how each year the standard gets higher and higher: ‘Over the last couple of days, you’ve learnt how to manage a budget, how to deliver a successful marketing campaign and how to sell and present. I’m so impressed with the collaboration, enthusiasm, motivation and determination from each and every girl. You’ve all worked incredibly hard. You’re learning valuable skills for the workplace. So, continue to be innovative and, above all, believe in yourselves. Each and every one of you has the potential to go on and achieve great things.’
By Ms Peat - Head of Year ( UIV) / Teacher of Art