By George Cowley
My experience with Dragons Den (the Durham University version, not the one on the TV!) began with a chance noticing of a poster for it. I already had a business I was trialing at home in London and so sent off a summary of my business plan to enter the competition on a whim. My business is Band Blend, a project that aims to bring young people aged 11-17 together in bands in a friendly and encouraging environment. It is inspired by a course run by some American summer camps that encourages kids to play music in rock bands, and now we have brought it to the UK! Band Blend wants to give young people the opportunity to develop their performance skills, confidence, social skills, and their musical abilities, as we believe that the key to starting and sticking to an instrument is in performance.
Luckily for me, the Dragons liked the idea and I was through to the semi finals with feedback on what I should include in the semi-final pitch which would improve on my business plan. A few weeks later I went to Durham Business School and pitched my idea to a board of Dragons who run businesses and are local to Durham. They gave me further feedback and a few days later I was lucky enough to find out I was in the final!
The final consisted of listening to the five other finalist’s pitches and then conducting my own 6 minute pitch. I was asked some very engaging questions by the Dragons – some of whom were international business owners – which challenged me and inspired me to think further into my business with a more business mind. I went on to win this final round as a joint winner with the only other Johnian, Elliot Mogonet, and so it was all round success for John’s!