Huntingdonshire Regional College students enter the lions’ den for business challenge

16:00 15 March 2014

The winners of the HRC Lions

The winners of the HRC Lions' Den at Alconbury Weald. (From left-right) Leader of HDC Jason Ablewhite, sponsor Stuart Searle of First Mailing, 3rd place winner Farren Phillips, 1st place winner Bryony Rodda, 3rd place winner Mark Woodward, HRC Principal Susanne Stent, Councillor Kevin Reynolds, and Huntingdon Mayor Bill Hensley.

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Entrepreneurial spirit at Huntingdonshire Regional College was alive and kicking as more than 250 students pitched business ideas in a Dragons’ Den style event.

For the second year, the college, in California Road, Huntingdon, has held a Lions’ Den where students presented business plans to experts from the area.

Students presented ideas for BMX magazines, a college communications app, a website for photography students to sell pictures and a range of T-shirts, as well as a host of other ideas to a panel, which last Wednesday including Stuart Searle of First Mailing, Veryan Bliss of Suncrop Produce, Richard Wishart of Delivery Management and Stuart Gibbons of Le Mark.

Josh Munn, 17, presented an idea for customising musicians’ drum kits to the Lions. He told The Hunts Post: “I’ve been working on this business for a couple of years.

“It was a good experience to take part in it and it was good to see what they had to offer me and their experience. It has helped me with my idea and taking it forward.”

Bryony Rodda won the competition, and a £1,000 cheque. She presented a clothing business for petite sizes and will invest her prize in an advanced pattern cutting course.

Mark Woodward, who wants to become a luthier - a person who hand-makes custom guitars - showed the Lions his Barnes Special guitar he was working on and came second in the competition and won £500.

Farren Phillips, 18, impressed with a customisable bow tie company Bow-Bot. The Lions highlighted new areas for Miss Phillips to research as well as telling her that her pricing was too cheap but was also advised to watch out for copyright issues. She sold two bow ties to the Lions and came third in the competition, scooping £300.

Fiona McGonigle, business development consultant at HRC, said: “This is the second year that the event has been run with double to number of entries this time round; with more than 250 interviews and presentations over the two days of the Lions’ Den with overwhelming support from 29 business people who came along as our Lions.

“We had entrants from students, unemployed and those in employment who wanted to pitch an idea to the employers – a cross section from all over the community. The level of entrants this year was outstanding and this highlights the amazing pool of talent out there already.”

Earlier in the week they had CV writing workshops from Karen Williams of KJ HR Consulting.

The prize fund was donated by Huntingdonshire District Council, Le Mark, First Mailing, Red Energy, Encocam, Hunts Business Network, Huntingdonshire Federation of Small business, Sun Crop Produce and HSBC Bank.

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