‘Chocolates for men’: Barking & Dagenham College students treated to business workshop at Barclays HQ

Young entrepreneurs from Barking & Dagenham College took part in a challenge at Barclays HQ (pic: Be

Young entrepreneurs from Barking & Dagenham College took part in a challenge at Barclays HQ (pic: Ben Prayel) - Credit: Archant

Budding entrepreneurs from Barking & Dagenham College were treated to a once-in-a-lifetime business workshop at the headquarters of a national bank.

Among the activities of the day was a speed dating style forum for budding entrepreneurs to speak to different professionals from Barclays.

Howard Jeffrey, manager of the college’s Pod centre, helped organise the event.

“It was great,” he said. “Everybody really enjoyed it – it was a good learning experience. I think everyone benefited: the students and the bank.”

Youngsters from different courses were taken to the 30th floor of the Canary Wharf tower and they began their day with a challenge designed to broaden their knowledge.

Barclays then opened the doors to the “speed dating” setup where people could talk about their business ideas, learn from professionals and make contacts.

Later they were split into teams and asked to design and pitch a new chocolate box for the chance of bagging decorative pens.

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The winning team came up with a chocolate box aimed at men – the “alpha box”, whose contents would be marketed at armchair sports fans and pubgoers.

Team member Antoine Vitalis, 23, told the Post: “What I liked most was the speed dating – I got ideas about things for my business.”

When asked how he felt about winning, he added: “I found our group worked really well and I was impressed about some of the ideas we generated.

“I was really happy to win.”

Antoine’s team, who are not students, were invited along for the day because of their involvement with the college’s loan scheme Launcher.

Launcher lends up £10k each to startups in and around London.

“The Barclays Bank Challenge provided our students with a unique opportunity to discuss and explore their business ideas with a group of corporate bankers,” added Howard.

“Our students were simply buzzing.”