14 May

BBC Dragons' Den Guest Lectures

On Thursday 6th March, we were privileged to listen to Touker Suleyman, a fashion retail entrepreneur, investor and reality television personality who is on the BBC Dragons' Den panel. He spoke to us on how to become an entrepreneur and the key personality traits needed to be successful. He illustrated the significance of differentiating yourself from your competitors and coming up with an idea that has a unique selling point so you can stand out. He explained the importance of having a business idea with growth potential, which could be a completely new product or through modernising an old one. We learnt that a perfect business model is to create a product that everyone wants and something that never goes out of fashion. He highlighted the importance of advertising your ideas and knowing your rivals which is key to becoming a disrupter of the market. His final piece of advice was a need to be passionate and driven to succeed; not give up when obstacles come in your way. Determination and perseverance is crucial as it will never be easy and this is what made him successful; the fact that he never gave up. He answered many of the students' questions, encouraging participation and inspiring us all to get out there and give it a go.

On Wednesday 12th May, we had the privilege of welcoming Levi Roots, a former contestant from the BBC Dragons' Den programme and a reggae musician, television personality, chef, author and businessman. He spoke about his life from growing up in Jamaica and learning his grandmother’s sauce to then taking his famous sauce onto Dragons' Den and now being sold in nearly all supermarkets across the UK. Levi talked about how his market ended up being significantly different from what he envisioned, how he created his brand of Reggae Reggae sauce and music and also how he overcame obstacles in the making of his brand. For example, how he went from making 65 bottles of sauce a week to suddenly being asked to make 250,000 bottles for Sainsbury’s, and how he adapted and overcame this and ended up outselling Heinz sauce in the supermarket. He was incredibly inspiring giving us insights into what it takes to create a successful brand that incorporates one’s culture and upbringing. He finished by giving us some important life lessons to achieve success, one being the importance of getting a good education. His talk was very unique: he was highly passionate, entertaining and included a few song interludes!