Dragons’ Den style competition crowns candy the winner

Date 10.03.2020

Students from the University of Northampton presented their business ideas to a panel of experts from global fresh cut fruit supplier, Blue Skies.

With their head office close to the University’s Waterside Campus, Blue Skies challenged students from the Faculty of Business and Law to come up with a new product line in a dragons’ den style business competition – the FBLChallenge20 – which saw the students battling it out for a chance to win the coveted trophy, and top of the range laptops.

Undergraduates, postgraduates, and MBA students from across the Faculty of Business and Law teamed up and prepared their pitches for a new product to aligns with the fresh-cut fruits, freshly squeezed juices and dairy-free ice-creams, which make up the Blue Skies portfolio, and are sold to leading retailers around the world.

Dr Ebenezer Laryea, Senior Lecturer in Law and organiser of the event, said: “The FBL Challenge encourages our studies from all business and law disciples to work collaboratively to apply the knowledge they are gaining from their courses to craft an entrepreneurial idea for a client.”

The four competing teams had just 15 minutes to present product ideas to the judging panel composed of senior figures from both Blue Skies and the University.  The first pitch was Bee Kind, an eco-aware children’s snack product aligned to a corporate sponsorship with charity supporting bee populations, which was followed by a quirky take on a grab and go treat, the fruit sandwich, alongside a snack pack of freeze dried fruits, perfect to have tucked in handbags and desk draws for busy professionals were also presented.

On the night, ‘Teen Patti’ students Satvikkumar Shah, studying Marketing, Yash Ghanghe, studying Economics and Maanveen Kaur Nanra studying Law, who are all in their first year at the University of Northampton, pitched a vegan, gluten free and totally organic candy treat. Their product, as well as a well-structured grass roots marketing campaign to bring the product into the pockets of health-conscious consumers, impress the judges and saw them crowned winners.

Ebenezer continued: “The students were assessed their creativity, innovation, understanding of the Blue skies business model and the quality of their presentation, they all embraced this challenge boldly and with great confidence, applying the knowledge they have garnered so far from their respective degrees “.

Simon Derrick, Head of Sustainability and Corporate Communications at Blue Skies said: “Blue Skies is a local company, with global impact, much like the University. Getting a simple product to market requires a lot of brain and brawn to make it a success, these students are the future of that. We’re delighted to have been part of the FBLChallenge20 this year, I was very impressed with the ideas the students presented, and the way the teams had considered the legal and regulatory landscape, sustainability issues, market trends, packaging and branding and much more, which drives the way a new product must consider to be successful.”