Third-year Bachelor of IT students at Dunedin’s Otago Polytechnic have undergone a ‘dragon’s den’-style grilling in front of a panel of industry professionals, in a bid to simulate the ‘pressure-cooker’ environment of a real industry pitch.
14 groups pitched projects to the panel, made up of David Quinn from Otago University’s Audacious startup lounge, Steven Walker from business incubator Upstart, and Chanel O’Brien, business development advisor at the Dunedin City Council.
Samuel Mann, associate professor at the Polytechnic’s School of Information Technology, says many of the institute’s students will wind up pitching their ideas to potential employers, clients or financial backers in the real world.
"The more experience they have presenting in front of a professional audience and receiving constructive criticism,” Mann says, "the more confident they will be when they enter the workforce.”
Two of last year’s students, Rachel Saunders and Brenton Hall, had their project picked up by technology company Tracmap. This year’s projects included an app for monitoring athletes and an online system for encouraging Otago Peninsula visitors to check out the rocky shore inter-tidal zone.