The Range Business Competition in partnership with the Beta Enterprise programme.

The Beta Enterprise Programme run by myself and Sarah Preedy at the Futures Entrepreneurship Centre has been able to provide our participants with a variety of exceptional pitching and funding opportunities. Dr. Emily Beaumont at Futures Entrepreneurship Centre worked in partnership with Chris Dawson to prepare and organised the Range Business Competition for students participating in the BETA Enterprise Programme. Chris Dawson is a Plymouth born local, a very successful business man and billionaire. He is the founder and owner of The Range – a national home and garden store. The Business Competition was run in celebration of the Range opening their 100th store in Plymouth and provided the opportunity for students on BETA to pitch their business ideas to Chris himself.

Applicants needed to put together a one page business proposal by the 30th January, this process helped students to refine their idea.  Those shortlisted were then invited to pitch to Chris Dawson and members of his team in their Plymouth office on the 13th of February. Prior to the competition’s pitching day I ran a workshop on pitching skills to help the three shortlisted applicants Gideon Asamoah, Feyi Ogenyeye and William Cowie and others on Beta to pitch their ideas clearly and confidently. It was exciting to help the students prepare for their pitches. I enjoyed filming the students practising their pitches, and by showing them a recording of their practice they could see what they were doing and how they could improve.

Chris Dawson with Gideon Asamoah, Feyi Ogenyeye and William Cowie

On pitching day the short-listed students gave brilliant and enthusiastic pitches and benefited not only by gaining detailed feedback on their business ideas by Chris, they also gained confidence in themselves and their idea through the act of pitching itself. The winner, Gideon Asamoah was then announced at the opening of the new store on the 20thof February and won £300 in vouchers. All participants were very happy that they had been able to take part and were looking forward to pitch their ideas to the BETA Enterprise Programme Panel in May 2015.

Feyi Ogenyeye said: the Range Business Competition was a “Great opportunity to be a part of, congratulations to Gideon for nicking the top prize off of me and hopefully this is just the beginning…”.

Chris Dawson with Gideon Asamoah

We at the Futures Entrepreneurship Centre were very happy to provide such a great opportunity for Beta Enterprise participants. It is always good to be able to offer ambitious students the opportunity where they can push themselves, develop their abilities and expand what they believe they are capable of, though diverse and challenging opportunities.

The BETA Enterprise Programme gives current Faculty of Business students the opportunity to improve their enterprise and entrepreneurial skills through the development of a business idea in a supportive environment alongside their course studies. BETA provides students with a clear programme of support from November to May each academic year to help them grow and develop their business idea. This support includes workshops, advice and fortnightly 1-2-1 mentoring from a variety of business experts, including the Futures Centre’s Entrepreneurs in Residence: Gareth Hart, Raphael Dennett and Randolph Gratton. This development support is provided in preparation for BETA’s pitching competition in May where successful students will receive up to £1500 in monetary support for their business.


The program acts as an integral part of students’ University experience. Students receive training in the form of interactive workshops and access to a variety of internal and external resources plus the opportunity to test their idea or product via Plymouth University’ Campus Markets run throughout the academic year. These opportunities assist students in gathering valuable market research and give them the best chance of developing a viable product and profit margin.

Did you want to see what happened at 2015’s Range Competition?

Workshops run by the Beta Enterprise Programme are free to attend and available to all Plymouth students. Below are some of the next free workshops available:

  • 23rd March, 11am to 1pm, Mast House 202, ‘Legal Necessities for Business’ –by Paul Tiltman and Rem Noormohamed.
  • 26thof March, 6pm to 8pm free ‘Networking Evening’ with Regus in Drake Circus (top floor) -never too early to start networking!

PBS Staff Photo Shoot for web pagesAmber Strong
Amber Strong


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