November at La Bastila - Final Year Business Plan Presentations!!!


As part of their last year of classes at La Bastilla, we felt that the final year students should learn about how to write a business plan and over the course of the second semester write their own plan to present as part of their graduation. The students mostly worked in pairs and chose a range of businesses including chickens, coffee cultivation, pig breeding, vegetables, a bakery and an internet café! Having taken classes since July and progressively written the various sections of their plan, the last week in November was chosen for the presentations.  

My main role was to help prepare them for their presentation, as they were a bit scared about the prospect of speaking in public. We did a session on how to prepare a good PowerPoint (minimal words on the slide, graphics, animations etc) and also on public speaking. We focussed on speaking slowly and clearly, not reading from the slides and trying not to fidget or look nervous. This was easier for some than others!   


Each student or pair had 5 minutes to present, with 6 slides and questions after the presentations. We spent the week working with each group to prepare the PowerPoint and decide what they were going to say. We ran another session on budgeting and taught them how to write a simple budget in Excel, which we included in all of the PowerPoints. This is a really valuable skill as many of them want to set up these businesses after graduating and a good budget really can mean the difference between success and failure.   

On Friday we held a “dress rehearsal” for the full experience, as we wanted them to have a chance to practice before the real event. Most of the students saw areas of their presentations that they could improve on, both in terms of the slides and also the presentation skills. After we had given each group feedback it was back to work!   


Presentation Day….

On presentation day all fourteen of the presenters dressed in their best and tried to seem confident despite being somewhat nervous! We held the event in the library with the teachers and all first and second year students in attendance. The students did a great job of presenting their businesses and explaining the budgets, as well as answering some tricky questions afterwards from the teachers! 

The audience paying close attention!

Hopefully we were able to give the presenters an experience that will be useful throughout their lives, whether they go on to further study, work or setting up their own business after they graduate. Not only being able to research and write a business plan, but to create a budget in Excel, a presentation in PowerPoint and then speak confidently in front of an audience – these are all invaluable skills. With this year being such a success, we hope this will become a regular tradition at La Bastilla and something which all graduating classes will have the chance to do!   

In the next blog I’ll be giving you a profile of the graduating class of 2011 and what they plan to go on and do after they leave the school.  

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