We know how it is, busy lives and deadlines, but you missed out on one hell of an event! Students from across different faculties came together in teams to develop new business ideas and gain experience making and presenting business plans.


Lancashire Women (previously Lancashire Women’s Centre) provided two briefs to the student teams, one for the design of an app that informs young women of the services on offer, and another for an event that encourages women to vote.



Participants were introduced to a range of activities to help them think creatively and develop the skills required to summarise their plans in display boards and presentations.

The Marshmallow Challenge is a firm favourite ice-breaker and team-building exercise, seeing everyone working together to build a tower out of spaghetti and marshmallows. The tallest freestanding structure comes out on top.

We had some very interesting approaches from our BIC teams, including 2-D modelling, yelling at it until it came together, and trying to tie it down with a bit of string (that’s not freestanding, guys!)

The teams also took individual tests to see what kind of team workers they were. The Belbin Team Inventory highlights the different ways people work, with an ideal team having a variety of different mindsets. Team Aspire found that despite each team member’s backgrounds being unalike, they were still able to work really well together. Maybe there’s something to this Belbin fellow…

Our mentor Liz also gave a quick blitz of a presentation on elevator pitches: explaining your business or sales message in the length of time it takes to travel in an elevator. She offered techniques to focus on the core offering, providing the listener with plenty of information but making them want to reach out for more.

Lancashire Women’s marketing officer Amber was there to offer advice throughout the first day, as were mentors Poppy Waters and Michael Brightman.


After just two days, our teams came together to present to a panel of judges including Liz Islam from Lancashire Women, Russel Hogarth representing the Business School and Bryan Jones representing Health & Wellbeing.

The judges were impressed with the depth of research the presenting teams had achieved in such a short space of time but decided that the prize would have to go to Team Tower. Clarity of vision, financial research and an effort to engage relevant users were all given as strong points. Team Tower were awarded £400 in Love2Shop vouchers to share between themselves.

Team Aspire also went away with a team prize for the best video diaries from the event. Each team was asked to answer questions about what was going on, how they felt about the activities and how the Big Ideas Challenge would impact their long-term plans. We got some great footage from everyone and you’ll get to see it in the coming months!


Lancashire Women were really impressed with the ideas and Liz has expressed an interest in drawing from our students’ ideas in the future (with their input, of course!)

We got some very positive feedback from the teams, showing the impact of the Big Ideas Challenge on each individual.

“It covered a lot of topics that were relevant to [Lancashire Women’s] challenge and will be useful in the future.”

If you want to find out more about what it takes to plan and present business plans, Russel’s Local Business Insights briefing is a great place to ask. Otherwise, there are other Propeller workshops that can help you hone specific skills. Check out our events page to see what they are and book onto them.