Students hit the top to pitch their ideas for business

South Coast Creative's Natalie Reeves

Director short-listed for ‘Working woman’s Oscar’

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YOUNG pioneers have been showing off their business and technology skills to top business brains in London.

Students from Highbury College’s award-winning Enterprise Society have competed in the national final of a student enterprise competition, ‘Market Maker 2013’.

The budding business brains pitched their ideas for two innovative mobile apps at the Institute of Directors, London, off the back of the recent Global Entrepreneurship Week.

The finals saw students invent a product to pitch to an audience of leading business people, before presenting to a Dragon’s Den-style panel of judges.

The group earned their place in the finals after successfully presenting their products in the regional finals, where theirs was judged to be the best.

The competition gave Highbury’s students vital enterprise experience. Their products consisted of two apps aimed at safer use of mobile phones.

The first makes use of GPS technology to detect whether the users’ car is in motion, automatically putting calls through to voicemail to avoid talking while driving.

The second app, called Don’t Drink & Text, or D-DAT, aims at preventing embarrassing drunken phone calls, barring all calls except emergency numbers when the user is on a night out.

The national final of Market Maker 2013 was addressed by Business Minister Michael Fallon MP, Institute of Directors’ Director General Simon Walker, and Rod Smith, of Pearson.

Mr Fallon said: ‘It is important to nurture the aspirations of budding entrepreneurs. Their business ideas, drive and ambition are vital to the future strength of our economy.

‘This competition has helped give students valuable experience and confidence about what they can achieve.’

The competition was only open to students studying at the Gazelle College group, of which Highbury College is a part, and which focus on providing entrepreneurial learning opportunities for all students, regardless of their courses.

Fashion student Kaddy Sylla, who was one of those pitching to the Institute of Directors, said: ‘Taking part was a really fun experience. Our team tried really hard and I learnt a lot from the process. It was a great experience which will help me in the future at university and beyond.’