Business Venturing 2014

Business Venturing 2014 (L-R Lee Martin; Alexandre Fazza; Alexandra Delamourd; Prof. Robert MacIntosh, Head of SML; Jill Pattle, Far from the Madding Crowd; Ian Collins, Bank of Scotland; Anne Field; Amanda Colligan; Prof. Derek Pattle, SML).

Business Venturing is a Year 3 course in the School of Management and Languages that aims to help students understand the entrepreneurial process by simulating the process and providing hands on experience. Students work in groups to come up with a business idea, develop a business plan, and then present their ideas to a panel of advisors - which this year included participation from five Bank of Scotland bank managers.

27 groups presented their plans and benefited from the panel's direct feedback on these which they could use to improve their plans before finally submitting their business plans.

Five best groups

The five best groups were then invited to present again for the Best Business Plan presentation which was kindly sponsored by the Linlithgow based business, Far from the Madding Crowd. As well as providing book tokens for the winning group, Far from the Madding Crowd also generously donated some books to our library.

The five finalists were:

1. Exerceo, an app targeted at personal trainers, helping them target wider audiences and improve their efficiency
2. E-SPY, an app targeted at film lovers, using face recognition to help you identify actors and actresses, linking to further information on them.
3. Pedal Pushers, a not for profit organisation providing Edinburgh University students with access to bicycles for a healthy, cheap way of travelling between campuses.
4. Give Cards, greeting cards with pre credited amounts of money linked to an website giving you choice of where to donate.
5. Petit Bottoms, a real nappy laundry service, providing a convenient and environmentally friendly service to Edinburgh families

Simulating a commercial environment, the judges took on the role of potential investors and each group had just 5 minutes to convince the judges that their businesses had true commercial potential. The judges were:
€¢ Ian Collins, Area Director, SME Banking, Scotland South, Bank of Scotland
€¢ Prof Robert Macintosh, Head of School, School of Management and Languages, Heriot Watt University
€¢ Jill Pattle, Owner of "Far from the Madding Crowd", Linlithgow
€¢ Derek Pattle, Honorary Professor, Heriot Watt University

The overall winner was Petit Bottoms who were Anne Field, Managing Director; Amanda Colligan, Financial Director; Lee Martin, Business and Product Development Manager; Alexandre Fazza, Operations Director and Alexandra Delamourd, Marketing Director.

High standard

The judges were extremely impressed by the high standard of presentations, Ian Collins, Area Director with Bank of Scotland Commercial, said "Bank of Scotland is delighted to support this excellent initiative which helps develop the entrepreneurs and business leaders of the future. We have been involved with the Business Venturing course for a number of years now and believe there is mutual benefit in sharing our experience of commerce and banking with the students."

Jill Pattle of Far from the Madding Crowd commented "We are delighted to have the opportunity to support Heriot Watt's Business Venturing course. The format successfully creates a great combination of team-work, original entrepreneurial thinking, together with the skills required to pull together a viable Business Plan and then make a live 'pitch' for the necessary funding. Combined with the element of competition, all of this gives students an insight into the though process and thrill of starting a business."

I was incredibly impressed by the standard of the presentations we saw.

Professor Robert MacIntosh, Head of School of Management and Languages

Professor Robert MacIntosh, Head of School said "I was incredibly impressed by the standard of the presentations we saw and the judges found it difficult to pick a winning team. The students who presented did both themselves and the School proud and I'm sure that the skills picked up during the course will stand them in good stead in the years ahead."