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DMU celebrates 10 years of students entering the Fox's Lair to pitch their business ideas

An innovative module that challenges students to pitch their ideas to real-life entrepreneurs is celebrating 10 years in business.

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The Fox’s Lair ™ - De Montfort University Leicester (DMU)’s annual competition for young entrepreneurs - will mark the milestone with an Oscars-style ceremony that has previous winners and business partners on the guest list.

Before that, however, there is the small matter of judging the competition and finding the 2015 winners.

Over the next two weeks, teams of first-year business students will be presenting their pitches to the Foxes, a mix of entrepreneurial business people with experience in a huge variety of sectors who give up their time to come to campus for the contest – the only university module of its kind in the UK.

The competition is the brainchild of Edwina Goodwin, senior lecturer and Programme leader for the Business Entrepreneurship and Innovation BA Hons Degree at De Montfort University

She said: The Fox’s Lair!® brings real business into the classroom . It gives students a chance to challenge their abilities to be creative and innovative in a team and develop good life skills, receive feedback from real business people, and have fun!"

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Drawing on their expertise and know-how, the Foxes are able to judge the entries and quiz students on the research, numbers and quality of their business plan.

More than 35 company owners and entrepreneurs are now official “Foxes”. Some have been supporters for the last nine years and are going into the tenth, including Tim Storer, MD of Pukka Pies; John Hayes of media outlet Champions UK, David Simms, publisher of the Leicester Mercury and Nottingham Post, management guru Russell Copley, Aatin Anadkat of Leicester’s Maiyango Hotel and Femi of Femi Boutique Beauticians.

Russell said: “I really value being a panel member for Foxes Lair.  I think it’s really important that students experience as much of the real world as possible during their education, and I’ve been delighted to help DMU in some small way in delivering that experience.   

“I get a real buzz from seeing pitches from groups of student who have put their heart and soul into their work – those who have come up with a real world idea and worked it through.  I think you can tell from these early encounters which students have got that entrepreneurial spark and will go on to succeed in business.”

Tom Brooks, a student who studied Business Management and Enterprise, took part in 2011.

He said: “The main skill that the Fox’s Lair helped me develop was how to think innovatively and look for gaps in the market (we went through about 30 business ideas before we finally settled on the one that we used!). However, it also served as a great springboard into my later course years, and turned me into the entrepreneurial thinker that I am today!”

Posted on Monday 20th April 2015

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