Innovative business ideas impress judges

18 Sep 2020

Pre-planted vegetable boxes and hemp oil for calming dogs were both in the mix when four

budding businesses were pitched to the equivalent of the “Dragon’s Den” on Friday 21 August.

The groups of Year 13 students from the Agribusiness class were taking part in an Enterprise and Innovation Day, outlining their businesses to three Old Boy judges, the Year 12 Agribusiness class, and their own classmates.

Their pitches looked at the vision, research, marketing, financing and distribution of their products – with marks from the presentations counting towards their overall NCEA grades.

First up was CBD Oil for Pets, with Liam Pratt, Fletcher Miller, Max Luisetti and Charles Smith explaining the psychological and physical benefits for dogs from the four flavour options – with drops to be added to their food morning and night.

Listening to the pitch were CCOBA president Richard Polson, rural banking consultant Andrew McKellar, and rural manager for Heartland Bank Hugh Murchison, who then posed probing questions, challenging the boys to think beyond their current frame and consider some of the realities of business.

Manuka Performance energy gels, or natural sports nutrition enriched with Manuka honey, was pitched by the second group of Olly Ryan, Fiti Sa and Nale Fifita, who said the 45gm liquid pouches were already in demand by secondary school sportspeople in Christchurch. They gave them a boost when their energy was flagging, were natural, and more affordable than their competition, they said.

The boys were urged to consider how they could protect the exclusivity of their product and to think about how they would expand its market.

The Plantables – Oscar Harcourt, Cormac Dods and Jack Burt – shared their idea for building, sowing and providing vegetable and herb gardens in a box or a half wine barrel. Unique to Christchurch, the planters would be delivered with the customer’s choice of plants already flourishing. One example they produced had fed five people all winter.

Ideal for those with busy lifestyles, little time and a liking for fresh herbs and vegetables, the raised gardens would also suit the elderly or disabled, and apartment dwellers, they said.

The fourth group of Mathew Paterson and Tom Cotter presented Pothole Solutions, a business they have developed which sells bags of a special type of rock and is designed to assist DIY people to fix their own potholes.

Richard, Andrew and Hugh’s assistance at the Enterprise and Innovation Day is part of the College mentor programme, where Old Boys give their time to help nurture current students. If you would like to be part of the mentor programme please contact Alumni Manager Lizzie Dyer at email hidden; JavaScript is required