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'Dragons' Den' Challenge For Graduates

31 March 2015

Costain’s newest graduates are putting their entrepreneurial skills to the test to raise £50,000 for the Costain 150 Challenge*.

Eight groups of first-year graduates presented their business plans for fundraising ideas to a ‘Dragons’ Den’ type panel comprising Alex Vaughan, Costain Managing Director, Natural Resources; Catherine Warbrick, Costain Investor Relations & Corporate Responsibility Director; Sally Austin, Costain HR Director; Camilla Duncan, Costain Graduate Development Officer and Tom Cleary, Costain 150 Challenge Project Manager.

Four of the groups each secured £1,000 of funding and will launch their businesses at the beginning of April. The four winning schemes were: a smoothie and juice bar at Costain offices in Manchester and Aberdeen and at the A556 upgrade in Cheshire; selling Costain desk calendars to colleagues and suppliers; a Company-wide bake-off competition; and the design and sale of Costain 150 Challenge badges and lapel pins. A further £1000 of funding will be available to the groups three months after the launch and will be invested where the Dragons see the best potential for increased fundraising. Each group will be aiming to raise £10,000.

“All of the groups came up with good ideas and made great presentations but in the end we chose the four with the most potential to turn £5,000 into £50,000 for the Costain 150 Challenge,” said Camilla. “Other groups’ suggestions such as charging for parking didn’t need any capital but may also be introduced.”

The entrepreneurial challenge is a new addition to Costain’s award-winning graduate programme. Said Camilla: “It gives participants the opportunity to develop core competencies such as creativity, business acumen and commercial awareness very early on in their careers. Plus the Dragons’ Den event allows them to hone their presentation and communication skills.”

*The Challenge, which will commemorate Costain’s 150th anniversary, involves raising £1million in 2015 for the Costain Charitable Foundation’s four chosen charities – the British Heart Foundation, Macmillan Cancer Support, youth charity The Prince’s Trust and Samaritans.



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