Budding entrepreneurs fired up in Dragon's Den investment competition
Supported by QU2 - Leeds Metropolitan University's hub for high growth businesses - the budding companies pitched to a judging panel comprising Katie Rigarlsford, the university's head of enterprise academy, Julie Pickersgill, ADD operations director, Margaret Wood, MD of niche engineering firm ICW, David Hunt, senior Barclays business manager and Jonathan Branton, corporate and commercial partner at DWF LLP.
ADD, a specialist in computer hardware and data destruction which has boosted turnover in the last six years from £300k to £3.4 million, is injecting £5k in up to three separate businesses to power them to the next level. ADD will also train, mentor and develop the winning enterprises.
Shortlisted entrepreneurs hailed from wide-ranging businesses which included ImArt Media, a social media platform, a website based venture based on moving images called Mooviebox, a 'service swap' website, Teachnut, a social network teaching site; textile and soft furnishing company Design by Sophia Lacey; Leeds business to business magazine 'the professional'; Zeus Gym Clothing; a technical and design consultancy - and a gourmet coffee club called Beanify. A decision is being made this week on who has been successful.
ADD operations director Julie Pickersgill said: "The depth and breadth of the entrepreneurs' talent was inspiring and energising and it is proving extremely difficult to make a decision. We wish all the candidates well-deserved success as they progress on their business journeys.
Katie Rigarlsford, Head of the Enterprise Academy at Leeds Met added: "Aligned with the ethos and goals of QU2, we are offering the winners a year's free access to our business accelerator programme and we are delighted with the success of the competition and the calibre of business ideas that it attracted."
Margaret Wood, MD of niche engineering firm ICW said: "As a champion of giving young entrepreneurs the opportunity to succeed in their chosen fields, it was a pleasure to witness at first hand their wonderful presentations. They are all worthy winners."
Corporate and commercial partner at DWF LLP Fellow judge Jonathan Branton added: "I was very happy to provide input from a legal perspective and it was encouraging to see so many young people with such imagination, drive and enthusiasm."