Bucks Dragons Den

News

Date: 18th Nov 2016

Joseph Valente, winner of The Apprentice 2015, had words of inspiration for entrepreneurs after sitting on a panel at Buckinghamshire New University overseeing students and graduates pitching for funding for businesses.

Mr Valente launched his plumbing business ImpraGas thanks to funding from Lord Alan Sugar after winning the BBC One show and joined figures including Mike Clare, CEO of Clarenco, on the panel in The Room at the University.

He said afterwards: "I would advise students and graduates launching businesses to always work hard and aim high even when you hit rock bottom and you can achieve anything. I enjoyed seeing people pitch their ideas and it's amazing to see what they have created."

The 'Bucks Dragons' Den' saw people begin a process of pitching for between £2,000 and £5,000 from a panel which also included Neil Dymond, Relationship Manager at Barclays' High Wycombe branch; Alex Pratt, founder of Serious Brands Ltd, which is based in Buckinghamshire and designs and manufactures reading lights; and Philippa Sawyer, co-founder and programme director of community radio station, Wycombe Sound.

Students and graduates presented pitches for funding ranging from proposals for a protein bar to an app for dancers to businesses already set up including an online marketplace for designers and a firm focusing on Caribbean cuisine.

The selected pitches now have eight weeks to submit business plans to Mr Clare before a decision is made on which ones to award funding to.

Mr Clare added: "I'm passionate about supporting Bucks New University students and graduates wanting to set up in business or build on the businesses they already have and I was really impressed with the energy they all had. I'm now looking forward to finding out the finer details about each business."
Bucks New University's Careers and Employability Service and Bucks Business School supports students' and graduates' entrepreneurial ideas through its 'Launch Pad' boardroom and office space and Dragons' Den-style funding schemes.

It is holding a range of autumn activities supporting students with business start-up ideas, including advice clinics with accountants Seymour Taylor; solicitors BP Collins; and creative agency Milestone Creative.

First picture captions: Judges and entrepreneurs at the Bucks Dragons' Den at Bucks New University.

Third picture caption: Joseph Valente, winner of The Apprentice 2015.

Images: Roger Xiberras

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