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SPLASH and the Dragons’ Den

SPLASH and the Dragons’ Den post image

I was delighted to take part in SPLASH last week. The event, organised and well-run by Working Knowledge, was for young people with dreams of earning a living from the thing they love: creative endeavour.

SPLASH aimed to demonstrate to students that a career can be forged in the creative industries… but that creative talent is just one part of the picture. Around 300 students took part. To assist, counsel and advise on the day, Working Knowledge drafted in 30-odd businesspeople (myself included). Our role as ‘experts’ was to:

  • Raise the aspirations of students
  • Build their confidence
  • Share advice where relevant.

The students were given a scenario (essentially to propose marketing solutions to a new investment bank). Most students were in the 16-17 age bracket and were studying Art, Media, Fashion, Music, Graphic Design and Photography.

The student cohort ‘enjoyed’ a series of face to face encounters with the experts:

  • An initial 12-minute meeting covering different areas of business
  • Longer, interim presentations
  • A Dragons’ Den judging panel.

I’ve got to say I was astounded at how these young people grew in confidence through the day, and how well they delivered their final pitches. There was a marked improvement in how students dealt with questions, how they took advice on board,  and how their creative ideas developed during the day.

“It was fun and interesting and gave me an insight into what to expect for the future.”

“I never used to talk out much but my confidence has now grown.”

“All of the experts were kind, friendly and approachable. They were very encouraging and gave really helpful advice.”
Student comments from SPLASH, 13 September 2011.

If I were recruiting staff, there were two or three students I would happily employ in the group I met.

Yes, I gave up a day of my time, but it was well worth it. Too often we get caught up in to-do lists, needless anxiety and tunnel vision when it comes to business. We forget the youthful thrill of believing we can do anything… can change the world. SPLASH brings some of that back.

To find out how you can contribute, contact @WK_Experts

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