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Dragons’ Den Style Event

Based on the BBC’s Reality TV programme Dragons’ Den, where budding entrepreneurs get to pitch their business ideas to five multimillionaires in hope of securing funding for their initiative, C-DICE’s Dragons’ Den style events offer post-docs the opportunity to vie for up to £2000 to get their business ideas of the ground. The aim of the Dragons’ Den style event is to help researchers develop valuable commercialisation strategy tools, business plan development skills, and gain experience of pitching their ideas to a lay audience.

The Brief.

Design and pitch a business case for commercial application or business plan that is linked to the transition to a net zero carbon society. Potential business cases could be, but are not limited to:

  • A business that helps organisations formulate decarbonisation plans.
  • Setting up a consultancy business capitalising on being an expert in their field of research.
  • Commercialisation of a product that can aid in the transition to a net zero carbon society.
  • Create, market, and sell a Net Zero themed game.
  • Create a Net Zero related App or software solution.
  • Create an on-line decarbonisation tool.
  • Set up a business delivering Net Zero related training or mentoring.

Intended Learning Outcomes.

The ILO for Dragons’ Den Style event participants is that they will:

  • Design and develop an initial concept for a business into a business case.
  • Communicate complex ideas clearly, accurately, and concisely both verbally and in writing.

In addition, those attending the accompanying workshop, Designing a Business Case in a Day will:

  • Develop knowledge on how to write a business case.
  • Gain insights into how to engage stakeholders, understand the needs of different actors, and how to deliver benefits to them effectively.
  • Develop an awareness of commercialisation methods.
  • Investigate strategic thinking, risk management, and budget formulation in the context of developing a business case.

How to Apply

Download the online form by registering for the ‘Dragons’ Den Style event Open Call Application Form‘ activity on Inkpath.

Dragons’ Den Style Event: Drop In session Monday 14 to Monday 28 November

Do you want to maximise your chance of winning £2,000 in the C-DICE dragons’ den style competition? Then book a place on one of our 1:1 drop in sessions. We will help you develop your proposal and give you some hints and tips on pitching your idea. You could use the £2,000 in any way that will help you develop a business idea, you could use it for training, market research or pump priming to put you in a position to apply for larger grants or funding.

During the drop in session we will go through each section of the application form in detail, thus it would help if you have downloaded the guidance and have a first draft (or an idea of what you’d like to say for each section) in advance of the session. 

Register on Inkpath for the drop in session.

Key Times

Designing a Business Case in a Day – virtual workshop (optional)Wednesday 9 November
Pitch Development Sessions (optional)14 to 28 November
Closing Dates for ApplicationMonday 5 December – 12 noon
Notify candidates of Application decisionTuesday 6 December
Pitch to DragonsThursday 8 December
Winners announcedw/c 12 December

Eligibility criteria for Dragons’ Den Style event.

  1. Applicants must have either a PhD or at least four years’ experience as a postdoctoral researcher in a relevant field. PhD students are eligible to apply but must have passed the viva with minor corrections before the Dragons’ Den Pitching Session.
  2. Applicants must be currently enrolled or employed by a C-DICE partner university or funded by the Faraday Institution or Alan Turing Institute. The list of C-DICE partner universities is available here.

Funding Level.

Applications can be submitted for up to £2,000 in value. A detailed breakdown of these costs should be included in the Rationale for funding section of the application form.

How will applications be assessed?

The following assessment criteria will be used to assess the applications. During the short-listing stage the C-DICE team will score applications out of 60, the top scorers will then be invited to pitch their idea to the C-DICE Dragons. The Dragons will give each application a score out of 120 based on the pitch (60 points) and submitted business case (60 points):

Criteria AreaCriteriaAssessment
Experience / work historyApplicant has worked at a C-DICE partner within the last calendar year or is currently employed at a C-DICE partner.Pass/fail
Applicant does not hold a permanent academic position.Pass/fail
QualificationsPhD / EngD awarded.Pass/fail
Topic SpecificBusiness fits within the scope of helping to transition to Net Zero Carbon Future.Score 1-10  
Business SpecificThe business plan is viable.Score 1-10  
 Funds have been allocated efficiently.Score 1-10  
 Idea is innovative.Score 1-10  
 Summary of target audience and plan to engage them.Score 1-10
 Marketing and Communications Strategy.Score 1-10