DCB Shark Tank: Congratulations to our young entrepreneurs!

Dulwich College Beijing

Congratulations to all the participants of our first-ever Dulwich Startup Warriors Programme!

At Dulwich College Beijing, we are committed to offering our students an education that brings learning to life through experiences that ‘make it real’ for them. We are proud to share that for the past 20 weeks, 40 Dulwich College Beijing students across 17 teams have been taking their learning beyond the classroom and into a real-life ‘Shark-Tank style’ entrepreneurship competition, showcasing their ingenuity and strategic acumen for a chance to win up to 10,000 RMB in seed funding for their innovative products and services.

Students explaining their business ideas to parents and judges

Participants in this entrepreneurship programme faced off to reach last weekend’s Bullpen of Champions, the final stage of our Dulwich Startup Warriors Programme exclusively for our Key Stage 3 students. Ultimately, the remaining top 10 teams demonstrated the viability of their products in their business fair and then pitched their ideas to our panel of entrepreneur-gurus for a shot at winning seed funding up to 10,000. Business ideas ranged from biodegradable phone cases and AI fact checkers to sustainable children’s clothing. 

Done in partnership with Singapore-based EdTech company Ascend Now, the programme offered our budding entrepreneurs a safe space to build their businesses from scratch, exploring all stages of entrepreneurship, from ideation and brainstorming to final execution, with seasoned entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds guiding them throughout the entire process.

Mr Stephen Kaye, Senior School Deputy Head: Academic and co-organiser of the Dulwich Startup Warriors Programme, shared how proud he was at how the students have grown throughout the programme and looks forward to what they can achieve in the future. “The students learned the fundamentals of what it takes to start a business in terms of knowledge, skills and, most importantly, mindset. Over the six months of the program, our students have developed tenacity, resilience, and creativity in the face of adversity. I hope that as these students grow older, they will be able to use what they have learned to better our school, the local community and the wider world.”

Ms Zhen Liu, former senior executive of Bytedance

Ms Zhen Liu, former senior executive of Bytedance, a DCB parent, and one of our ‘sharks’, shared how thoroughly impressed she was with the students’ well-structured presentations, showing their keen understanding of their target markets and the potential impact of their products or services. “The Bullpen Event showcased an impressive array of innovative start-up ideas from talented students. As a judge and parent entrepreneur, I was thoroughly impressed by the creativity, passion, and professionalism displayed by the students. Their level of energy, originality, and enthusiasm was truly remarkable. What stood out to me was the strong emphasis on sustainability and environmental consciousness in many of the projects. It is highly commendable that the school has successfully instilled a mindset focused on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the students. It was inspiring to see the next generation of entrepreneurs taking their first steps towards solving problems in the real world.”

Dr Karim Alwadi, founder of Yuan li Sport

Another ‘shark’, Dr Karim Alwadi, founder of Yuan li Sport and a DCB parent for 10 years now, shared his pride not only in taking part in the event as a judge but also in experiencing firsthand our young students’ pioneering spirit and entrepreneurial drive. “The real-world business is much more competitive than what the students experience in a school environment. That is why it is so important for the kids to get hands-on experience on real issues you don’t anticipate in a simulated proposal.”

Kiddieloop pitch

At Dulwich College Beijing, we encourage our students to make the most of what we offer here at the College to make their mistakes, learn from them and eventually become successful in their respective fields of passion. Year 8 Ella H, co-founder of the winning business idea pre-loved clothing platform Kiddieloop, shared how her team had decided to create a service with sustainability and community in mind. “We had a list of problems we wanted to solve while making a sustainable impact. We decided on Kiddieloop where we would also create a community where everyone shares our values.” 

Dollision founder Year 7 Eva C

Dollision founder Year 7 Eva C shared how winning second place is one of the first steps in her dreams of becoming the first female CEO of a doll empire, where the dolls are uniquely equipped with learning materials on the 17 SDGs. “Not only can our dolls educate kids about SDG goals using accessible and trendy content, but as a girl, I can understand and relate with our target audience too!” But she also added how the event made her see that, regardless of whether she won or not, the joy she had while working on this passion project of hers is something that doesn’t need a reward.

Sports enthusiast team Footflex team

Sports enthusiast team Footflex, who placed third, shared how their product was inspired by how being passionate about different sports can make purchasing shoes not only unaffordable but unsustainable as well. They aim to create interchangeable soles that not only allow sportspeople to affordably continue their passion for sports but also create a better alternative for the planet. “With the seed funding, we could work out a complete set of prototypes to make our soles real products.”

Ms Kim, a parent of one of the student participants, described the event as a great experience for those interested in going into business one day. “Students were able to work alone or in teams and experienced many things, such as the decision-making process among team members, selecting and developing ideas, and preparing presentations. I tried to refrain from guiding my son and instead encouraged him to experience everything on his own, discuss among teammates, and experience both failure and success. Although they did not achieve victory, I hope that the experience of reflecting on their own and going through trials, understanding what they need to improve, and what they did well, will be a meaningful experience for success as an entrepreneur in the future. They did their best, and I am proud of their effort! I would like to express my gratitude to the hardworking team members and teachers!”

Arianna Sasia, Ascend Now partner and co-organiser of the Dulwich Startup Warriors Programme, also shared how proud and impressed she was with the students. “The students' commitment and resilience are impressive. They did this after their school hours, on top of all their homework and other activities. They didn’t give up although it was so demanding – it was superb teamwork, and everyone should be proud of themselves.”

It was quite a family affair for some as extended relatives also joined the event. Year 3 student Yangming C’s grandmother shared how thoroughly impressed she was with the passion and dedication our young entrepreneurs demonstrated, and how the values that come with entrepreneurship should be encouraged even at a young age. “Our family is very passionate about entrepreneurship. It’s never too early to be immersed in an environment where children get to experience real-world business scenarios supported by the well-rounded education that DCB is providing.”

Mr Kaye also shared his observation of how nearly all the business ideas were related to social entrepreneurship, embodying DCB’s commitment to global citizenship. “This remarkable journey reveals our students’ commitment to active citizenship, demonstrating that every innovative idea we pursue is a stepping stone towards making a meaningful impact in the world.”

DCB Head of College Anthony Coles

This programme allowed our students to showcase their innovative ideas while reinforcing the importance of collaboration, resilience, and sustainability, where ingenuity meets impact, and where every idea has the potential to make a difference. As Mr Anthony Coles, our Head of College, pointed out, “We should never underestimate our students. They are highly capable, adaptable and creative. It’s no wonder they have excelled in this challenge to ideate and execute a business plan. Thank you to Mr Stephen Kaye for supporting the teams throughout this long and sophisticated process.”

Again, congratulations to the participants of the Dulwich Startup Warriors Programme, and the teachers and members of our community who made this possible.

Group photo of Shark Tank participants