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Highbury students to pitch business at the IoD

Students from Highbury College's Award winning enterprise society will be pitching their idea for a 'don't drink and text' app to the Institute of Directors (IoD) in London on 18 November.

Students from Highbury College's Award winning enterprise society will be pitching their idea for a ‘don't drink and text' app to the Institute of Directors (IoD) in London on 18 November.

Five Highbury students will be presenting their business plan alongside students from twenty other colleges in the Market Maker final - an exclusive enterprise competition open to those who study at Gazelle Colleges.

The group earned the opportunity to compete at the IoD by successfully pitching to a panel of experts in the regional finals of the competition, held at Highbury. Teams had to prepare a short Youtube video, pitch their ideas and take questions from a Dragons' Den style panel. Of the fourteen teams that took part, the judges decided that the ‘don't drink and text' team, or D-DAT for short, had the most viable business idea.

Bee Carley, who is studying A Levels at Highbury, came up with the concept. She said: "We were pitching loads of ideas into a group and I came up with ‘don't drink and text', then we just expanded on it from there. The idea is the app puts your phone into a kind of airplane mode for a certain amount of time, so you can't text or makes calls, except to certain numbers like, the emergency services. It means you won't have to deal with embarrassing texts that you might have sent if you'd had a bit too much to drink."

Adam Smith, who started Damteq - a digital marketing agency - as a student, was one of the judges on the panel and has now offered to mentor the students. "The team had discovered a problem that I think a lot of young people can relate to and they came up with a solution. They had a clear vision and a lot of enthusiasm when they were presenting, so they really engaged with their audience."

The team includes two A Level students, one BTEC fashion student and two students studying for foundation degrees in IT. They got together at Collective Futures, which was named College Enterprise Society of the Year at the National Association of College and University Entrepreneurs (NACUE) Leadership Summit last year.

Robbie Close, who is also studying A Levels, said: "Since joining the enterprise society I've noticed my confidence has increased a lot. Doing that pitch, standing in front of a room full of people, that was a great experience."

Now the students will have to work on their business plan before traveling to the IoD to display their concept at a trade show and pitch to a panel of IoD members.  

The Market Maker competition has been created by the Gazelle College Groups, of which Highbury key is a member. The Group is transforming further education, developing new commercial learning models and innovative partnerships with business, to equip students with the skills to be creative, confident and resilient in the workplace.

For more information about Highbury College and the Gazelle College Groups visit


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