For the third year running Business Gateway’s HEAT event has succeeded in encouraging early stage businesses to come forward with their ideas, by entering a Dragon’s Den-style pitching competition, for a chance to win over £4,000 worth of prizes to help turn their ideas into reality.
Almost 30 applications were received from local businesses from across Forth Valley, and after an extremely difficult judging decision, the top 11 were invited to the final showdown at Gean House, Alloa on March 16 to give a three-minute pitch in front of a panel of “dragons”. Why 11 finalists? Well, such was the level of applicants that the initial Business Gateway Forth Valley judging panel simply could not bring themselves to cut the applicants any further to create a top 10!
All 11 final pitches were truly fantastic, after which the ‘dragons’ were locked in a room over lunch time and not allowed to come out until they had reached a decision. The judging panel was made up of:
- Kevin Ashcroft of Blinkered who offered the top prize of a £1000 digital marketing or company branding package
- Alloa-based Mark Stewart of Stewart Accounting Services who offered free accountancy , bookkeeping and consultancy services to each of the top three prize winners
- Professor David McKay from the University of Stirling Management School who offered a £500 cash prize to second place
- John Cooper of Storage UK Ltd who offered a £250 cash prize to third place
- Jennifer Tervit McDonald of Perfect Penny Marketing who offered a £250 marketing plan to third place
Also in attendance was Angela Ogilvie of Ceteris (Scotland) Ltd who offered the winner a prize of £1000 worth of business property rental.
When the dragons finally emerged, Megan Rose Bridal was announced as the winner of The HEAT 17 to rapturous applause. Owned by Megan Hamilton from Fishcross, Megan Rose Bridal create bespoke wedding dresses that allow brides to create a dress that fuses together their own unique sense of style and character, creating a dress that not only looks one of a kind but also fits impeccably.
A Heriot Watt University graduate, Megan who has already worked in Sydney, Australia said. “The 1st prize of marketing and website design will greatly benefit my new business as I plan to have a strong Social Media following. This is the perfect platform to get recognised and, being a customer myself, I have purchased many items through the use of Social Media. Instagram and Pinterest will play a big part in this strategy as they are the go-to for new brides to seek inspiration for their wedding day”
Megan, whose mother came to the final for moral support, continued “Accountancy and bookkeeping will also be a great benefit to me because, as I am from a design background, this is the area I am the least confident in. I have a lot to learn in this field and so having the use of Mark Stewart’s expertise within my first year will be extremely beneficial”
2nd place went to Better Fresh, the brainchild of Taf Masocha of Sauchieburn. Better Fresh home deliver the exact ingredients required for online food videos saving consumers the time and effort of searching the supermarket isles for the intricate ingredients needed and saving them money on purchasing large quantities of ingredients when they may only need a small quantity.
Taf said, “I’m absolutely delighted to be awarded 2nd place in The Heat 17. The money I’ve won will mainly be spent on advertising and marketing, to help raise awareness and develop the strength of the brand as we haven’t really marketed yet. It will also help us to introduce a new Better Fresh app, which is going to allow our customers to get their order literally at one tap. So it’s exciting times ahead thanks to The Heat 17″
Menstrie-based Jo Pudelko took third place with her business creation, The Central Scotland School of Jewellery. Launched in January of this year, Jo holds classes and workshops in the RFL House, Dunblane, focused on delivering traditional, technical metalwork skills whilst encouraging participants to create professional looking pieces of jewellery.
On finishing third, Jo said, “The competition was so strong I can’t believe I finished in third place. The business was launched very rapidly and although I feel very confident in my business idea, the marketing plan and accountancy advice I’ve won will come in very handy”.
The HEAT 17 was organised by Ceteris (Scotland) Ltd on behalf of Business Gateway Forth Valley. For further information on Business Gateway support visit www.bgateway.com/clackmannanshire.
PIC: The Winners L-R Taf Masocha of Better Fresh, Megan Hamilton of Megan Rose Bridal and Jo Pudelko of The Central Scotland School of Jewellery and The Dragons L-R Professor David McKay, Kevin Ashcroft, Jennifer Tervit McDonald, John Cooper & Mark Stewart.