On the 20th of July 2015, Dragons and challengers gathered in School of Arts, Languages and Cultures for the very first edition of REALab’s Dragons Den. The ‘Dragons’ for the day were Meg Hugh and Jan Hicks (MOSI), Sonya Lopez (Kindling Trust), Jérome Brillaud (Head of SALC Graduate School and artsmethod Director), Martin Henery (Manchester Enterprise Centre and Director of Venture Out and Venture Further) and myself as REALab Director.

Teams had 10 minutes to ‘pitch’ their project proposals to the Dragons and other 10-minute time for Q&A where Dragons raised questions and Partners directly could test the groundedness and deliverability of the proposals before committing to hosting the researchers at their organisations.

Presentations all focused both on aspects related to the content of the projects to be undertaken and on project management factors relative to timescale, possible risks, resource acquisitions and so on. All teams were successful in convincing the Dragons of their proposals’ soundness and the researchers’ passion and enthusiasm in working on the projects also nicely came out loud and clear.

With the Partners happy to proceed with their respective teams, REALab has finally awarded the prizes which will assist the teams in the implementation of their projects:

  • first prize has gone to MOSI team’s Catriona McCallion, Natalia Moreira, Matthew Stallard and Eleanor Ward;
  • second and third prizes have gone to MUP team’s Christopher Fairless, Chunyuan Liu and Volha Arkhipenka and Kindling Trust Team’s Imhotep Baptiste and Ximena Schmidt.

After the euphoria of the announcements, teams have now progressed into the delivery stage, during which they will be mentored by REALab mentors to guarantee that this final stage runs as smoothly as possible.