Lewes students step into a Dragons’ Den

Cailean Hargrave worked with students from Sussex Downs College
Cailean Hargrave worked with students from Sussex Downs College

Students at Sussex Downs College in Lewes were set to step into the Dragons’ Den yesterday (Thursday).

Cailean Hargrave, educational lead from IBM UK & Ireland, was to host the competition.

He was at the college in December to deliver a day-long entrepreneurial workshop.

Sixty students from mixed disciplines took part and undertook an examination that generally scores an average of four out of 15 and more than 60 per cent achieved an eight. Three students scored 10.

Students were treated as professional delegates at a conference and were challenged to a range of team building activities.

For example they had to make a safe, secure and functional chair out of just balloons and Sellotape and also worked in teams to find logical solutions to challenging scenarios.

They were also put into groups and made to develop ideas for a Smart IT based business solutions.

Their business plan could relate to either Smart Healthcare, Smart Water, Smart Oil, Smart Rail, Smart Money, Smart Government, Smart Food, Smart Products, Smart Communications or Smart Education.

At the end of the day, Cailean selected three students who had impressed him throughout the day with their leadership, team working and presentation skills as well as their attitude and their level of involvement during the day.

Kaeleen Stammers, Gemma Jones and Shaymaa Bani were invited to spend a day shadowing Cailean at work.

Tony Bowen (faculty director for creative and digital studies) and Nigel Ryan (marketing and alumni) were on a Dragons’ Den style judging panel that chose the most innovative idea from an impressive array of solutions from every category.

After the programme of events the high energy presentation was culminated with an offer by Cailean on behalf of IBM to help fund the development, manufacture and launch of a viable IT based product conceived by a Sussex Downs College student up to the value of £50,000.