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Dragons' Den comes to Doha College

With months quickly flying off the calendar till Year 9s have to lock in their choices of (I)GCSE subjects, our Business and Geography departments had the brilliant idea of showcasing their disciplines in a way that was competitive AND very attractive to the students.

The two departments joined forces to organise a Dragons’ Den style event, seeking to develop many competencies: (scaled) market research, product development, graphic design, merchandise promotion, presentation, public speaking, and not least collaboration. The geography angle was that of sustainability: keeping a balance between economic growth, social well-being and environmental care. The students were asked to consider packaging, airmiles, exploitation of workers and the environment (e.g. deforestation and palm oil).

Just as in the TV show, our students had to create an appealing product, put together a convincing presentation and deliver a compelling sales pitch to a panel of judges. Just as the real “dragons,” our judges were not easily impressed, and they challenged the competitors on pertinent concerns such as commercial viability and false advertising.

Unlike the competitors on the TV show, our students faced additional constraints. Their product was predetermined, namely a healthy and sustainably manufactured energy drink, it had to be linked to the FIFA World Cup, and they only had three hours at their disposal: two for product development and one for preparing the sales pitch.

The organisers were honoured to host a very special head adjudicator, who ultimately cast the deciding vote in choosing a winner. This was 30-year-old Ghanim Al-Sulaiti, successful Qatari entrepreneur and owner of many successful businesses under the umbrella of Enbat Holdings, a vegan investment company. All of Ghanim’s enterprises are sustainable, eco-friendly and organic. Before the final kicked off, Ghanim spoke to the students about the importance of sustainability with passion and conviction, giving them food for thought long past the duration of the event.

At the end of two days of effervescent idea generation, brainstorming, channeling creative flows and crystallising concepts, two teams made it into the final. On the first day, it was the girls-only 9X Tridents, who came up with “Orync” – a clever combination of the words “orange,” “oryx” and “zinc,” also conveniently rhyming with “drink”. The second qualifying team was the (coincidentally) boys-only 9Y Tridents - the Trident House had a REALLY good run with this event! They created a drink called “Nitro” and presented it in an inimitably dynamic manner that got the crowds on their feet.

After careful thought and consideration, Ghanim declared the creators of “Orync” as the winners of the competition. Congratulations to Heléne Leonard, Emilia Gilchrist, Scarlet McSwiggan, Riti Shah and Isheya Chaubey, and to all others who put forward inventive, fun products.

This event introduced Year 9 students to the world of Business, Economics and Geography and how the three subjects can link at iGCSE. The level of talent amongst our Year 9 students was incredible and they were all able to come up with fantastic marketing pitches for their sustainable healthy drink. A group of 6th Form students came along and helped out; it was wonderful to observe the relationships develop among them and their younger peers. Mrs Amos and I are looking forward to running it again next year.

David Crothers, Head of Business and Economics

One of the best things about teaching is witnessing students enjoying and fully engaging in their learning. Dragon’s Den was an exciting opportunity for the students to really show off their creativity and collaboration skills and wow, they really impressed all of us involved! A highlight really was the determination they displayed in ensuring they met the criteria and the confidence they displayed when faced with the dragons and their terrifying questions!  Well done Year 9, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience alongside of you all.

Claire Amos, Head of Geography

Here, esteemed guest and head adjudicator Ghanim Al Sulaiti shares his post-event impressions, and makes excellent points on how the concepts of business and sustainability can intertwine successfully. 

I am so excited to be here today, to share my journey, but also to judge the competition. Qatar has been focusing on sustainability and on new initiatives that are changing the way communities are using products and materials. The country depends on us to produce less waste, control our emissions and have a little more consciousness when it comes to shopping.

Thank you for lending your expertise and we look forward to collaborating again in the future!

To view some highlights of the event, including of the creative process in the classrooms, tap below

Well done to our young entrepreneurs, and thank you to the Business and Geography departments. What a great way to shine a light on their subjects!


Browse through the images from the two days