Local entrepreneurs have been recognised in a Dragon’s Den style competition organised by Business Gateway offices in Clackmannanshire, Stirling and Falkirk. Now in its fifth year, The HEAT competition was sponsored by Stirling University, Forth Valley College, Ceteris, Perfect Penny Marketing, Arm in Arm Accounting, STEP and SV24-7 Vending.
The competition attracted over 30 applications from pre-start and new start companies (who have been trading for up to 12 months) across the Forth Valley. Twelve of the entrants were carried forward to the final, which took place during Clacks Business Week on Tuesday 5 March.
Competing for prizes up to the value of £7,500, the final 12 budding entrepreneurs braved the ‘Dragons’ to present a three-minute business pitch to a panel of five judges. The judges were Professor George Burt of The University of Stirling Management School, Zak Stark from Forth Valley College, Jennifer Louise Tervit from Perfect Penny Marketing, Fiona Chambers of SV24-7 Vending and Neil MacKinnon from Arm in Arm Accounting.
Stirling-based Tour Tag, a loyalty app designed to inspire and encourage golfers across Scotland, was selected as the overall winner of the HEAT competition. Judge Zak Stark commented: “Competition was strong but there was a clear favourite in Tour Tag who won with a strategy to build an online business working with Scottish Golf Clubs to provide a loyalty bonus scheme. This idea caught the attention of the Dragons as the pitch highlighted a clear gap in the market, with Golf Clubs keen to embrace Tour Tag in order to attract younger members and increase footfall within their club.
Although initially looking to capture the Scottish market, there is potential to grow this business and the panel is confident Tour Tag will fully embrace the challenge and business will go from strength to strength.”
Krafty Kids, an arts and crafts business that offers a variety of classes, parties and Slime Academies for children of all ages, was awarded second place whilst Postfender, an innovative new bike mudguard, took third place. Due to fierce competition, the HEAT judges also decided to award a fourth prize to Hair at Your Venue – a mobile hair salon in the back of a lorry.
Zak Stark continued: “Forth Valley College values the work Business Gateway do to support business start-ups across the region, and we work closely to ensure our students see this as a potential progression option. I was delighted to be asked for the 2nd year running to sit as a judge – aka Dragon – for the HEAT competition. We heard pitches from 12 finalists, who in a tight three-minute timeframe all presented very strong business ideas. Business Gateway had clearly done a great job in shortlisting as the Dragons were so impressed with the calibre, we presented a last minute fourth award. This recognises the quality of finalists and difficulty we were faced with in terms of shortlisting the winners!”
Mandy Campbell, Business Adviser for Business Gateway Clackmannanshire said: “It is thrilling to see our Business Gateway clients go from strength to strength in their individual endeavours. Our business advisors have provided all of the entrants with support and advice to help transform their ideas into reality. We appreciate the time and dedication required to grow a successful business of any size and therefore it was wonderful to celebrate the achievements of our local entrepreneurs at the HEAT competition.”
For further information visit www.bgateway.com.