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Marlborough House School

Dragons’ Den

A remote revolution of ideas from Year 8 Leavers!

There were five dragons in the den:  Mr P-C, the eco-entrepreneur and product development pioneer; Mr Walker, the “big on sales, low on ethics” 1980s wheeler dealer; Mrs Reeve, the tech and coding billionaire; Madame de Haan, the high end fashion guru and Mr Kimber, the eco-tourism philanthropist.  

There were five companies pitching their ideas to the Dragons and each secured investment in their ideas or product.  The first pitch was from a bunch of culinary chicks called The Originals (Sienna, Alice, Anna, Pippa and Lydia) who had developed yet another pointless kitchen gadget called “The Smoky Toasty.”  Their product had an excellent engineering design but they failed to present any long-term vision for the product.  Product development Payne-Cook got in early, telling the girls they needed a lot of help but that he could see the potential for selling the product to people with more money than sense.  He offered £400,000 for a 50% share of the business.  Eco-Kimber and Techy-Reeve made less generous offers, but the girls settled for the cash injection in return for 50% of their business. 

The most entertaining pitch (but the least ethical) came from some dynamic young businessmen trading as The High Horse (Wilfie, Matthew, Stanley, Kit and Alexander) who had patented a flesh boring microchip called “Chips for Safety” with target markets of escaped convicts, control freak parents and communist states.   The Dragons fought for a share of their surveillance market with Wheeler Dealer Walker offering £500k for a 12.5% share;  Fashion de Haan offering £800k for 20%; Eco-Kimber offering 400k for 7.5% before the prospective microchip millionaires accepted coding expert Reeve’s offer of £500k for a 10% share of their business. 

Aeronus (Ralph, Ben W, Felix, Tom, Ben P) a group of earnest young men determined to save the Rhino pitched their idea of a Rhino sanctuary in Tanzania.  Eco-Kimber’s ears pricked up at the conservationist idea though eco-Payne-Cook was keen to probe their weekly rental fee of £1.1 million for a Boeing 747 to transport the Rhinos!   The charitable aims of the company attracted four bids from the Dragons with the boys wisely accepting £250k each (500k) from eco-Kimber and Coding-Reeve in return for 30% (in total) of their very slow burning business.  Fashion de Haan made a £100k philanthropic donation in return for just one 1% of the business as well. 

The penultimate pitch was from five young businesswomen (Olivia, Daisy, Isabella, Emma and Sophia) who presented MaskD by Masterminds.  Their fashionable and bespoke facemasks with contracts with Dior and Gucci were quite a hit in the Den.  All five Dragons made a bid but in the end the girls snaffled up offers from Fashion de Haan of £500k for a 5% stake and a mildly eco-concerned but product supply chain rich Payne-Cook of £200k for 8%. 

The final pitch was from iElite (Corey, Hal, Archie, Daniel and Theo) who had designed the Pollution Predator, a mechanical, programmed shark that gobbles up waste plastic from oceans and lakes.  The plastic is then recycled and used in building materials.  Eco-Payne-Cook was interested but thought the business needed a lot of help, so when one team member tried to knock his offer down from £400k for 50% to a 5% share, he was insulted and OUT!  The Dragons liked the idea but it was a surprise offer from Wheeler-Dealer Walker of £500k for 33.3% which they accepted.   Coding-Reeve also donated £250k in return for exclusive rights to their coding patents but 0% share of the business. 

The five Dragon teachers hadn’t enjoyed themselves so much for a long time and were really proud of how well the children embraced this remote Leavers’ Programme task.  The independence, collaboration, leadership, creativity and communication skills on display were inspiring and often very funny too.  Perhaps this task should become a more permanent co-curricular mainstay in the future…