This year’s ‘Pitch at the Pitch’ challenge saw five sets of BU students presenting their business plans to a judging panel of experts and entrepreneurs in a ‘Dragons’ Den’ style set-up.
To celebrate BU’s on-going partnership with Premier League AFC Bournemouth, the event was held at the grounds of Vitality Stadium. Ten finalists were chosen out of 30 applicants to give a 15 minute presentation on their business plan and to answer any questions from the panel.
Five sets of students – Holly Fisher, Dan Walsh, Jack Hopkins and Jake Murray, Alexander Minkey and Ben Merrell, and Freddy Molyneux and Adam Varney – eventually went on to win £1,000 each, kindly donated by Santander, to help further their business ideas.
Adam Varney, a first year student studying BA (Hons) Marketing Communications, explains what he achieved from taking part: “The experience I gained from entering – and being successful – in the ‘Pitch at the Pitch’ competition has been a huge confidence boost – one that I’ll take with me on my journey throughout life and university.
“A big thank you to Bournemouth University and Santander for putting on a great event and for being so supportive to all the candidates – I really gained a lot from being involved."
The expert judging panel included Matthew Coates from Santander Corporate and Commercial bank; Angela Piromalli from Rock Recruitment Solutions; Rich Holdsworth from Amuzo; Shelley Collins from the Dorset Growth Hub; Professor Jim Roach and Keith Pretty from BU.
BU graduate and Relationship Director at Santander, Matthew Coates, was impressed with the business ideas presented to the judges. "It was a pleasure to be involved once again with the ‘Pitch at the Pitch’ event. The range and different stages of the business ideas was yet again remarkable. The common themes emerging were around providing solutions to everyday needs and spotting niches where it could be done better.
“As a BU graduate myself, it’s great to know that through schemes like this, the university can work together with Santander to help support students into future careers they have control over. This means promoting wider opportunities and exploring options like starting your own business."
BU’s Graduate Employment Officer Robert Coldwell emphasised how important it is to get involved in such schemes: “All but one of the students who won were first years, highlighting that getting involved in the full university experience from day one really can reap huge rewards.
“In this particular case, the students involved have not only benefitted financially, but have also developed on a personal level and have gained immeasurable experience in terms of any future career plans.” BU has strong links with businesses and offers all undergraduate students the opportunity to undertake a work placement as part of their course. BU students have a high employability record, with 93.3% of BU graduates in work or further study six months after graduating, according to the latest Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey.