Step aside Lord Sugar, Hartpury’s equine entrepreneurs wow industry leaders with perfectly-pitched products


Hartpury students have been impressing major equine suppliers NAF with their business acumen; pitching products and marketing strategies in a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style session.

In a session led by NAF, a group of around 40 first and second year BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma Horse Management (Business) students were asked to come up with ideas for a new product.

They were given an insight into the business and the products already in the NAF range and how they are made, as well as how they are marketed nationally and internationally. The students were asked to consider how any new product concepts they devised would fit in and work with existing ones.

The winning team of Beth George and Shannon Lloyd Pepperell, came up with the idea of treats similar to NAF’s ‘Appy’ and ‘Minty’ treats but they were called ‘Breathy’ and ‘Flexy’ and contained ingredients to benefit joints and respiration. They won a bag of treats and NAF merchandise.

Mandy Cook from NAF, said: “It was great to see how engaged the students were with the task. They had some fantastic ideas with solid reasoning behind them.

The ideas put forward were discussed at our product development meetings after the session and everyone was very impressed with the thought that had gone into them and the range of products proposed.

“The tomato-based products for whitening and stain removal, treats with respiratory and joint ingredients and the Fill-eeze product were particularly well received. If we decide to progress any of these products further, or the concepts be used in developing other products, we will definitely let the students know!”

Hartpury College Equine tutor, Jennifer Mellows, said: “It was really useful for the students to understand how a major equine business has grown through developing their existing products, coming up with new ideas to diversify its ranges and exploring new markets.

“They also learned more about marketing, the importance of research in product development and maintaining high quality at all times. It was great for them to be able to apply what they have learned in their lessons to a real-life business example.

“That complements the work experience they have to carry out one day a week as part of their course. Some of them choose to do that on campus at our own equine events or in the equine therapy centre, while others are out at eventing yards and, increasingly, students are choosing to complete their placement in business and retail environments, including in marketing roles. It’s a great way for them to gain a better understanding of the career paths available to them.”

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