Announcing the HEAT 23 Competition Winners! Forth Valley’s Rising Entrepreneurs Shine Bright

Innovative business ideas triumphed in the ‘Dragon’s Den’-style contest, with the HEAT 23 competition winners announced as Clackmannanshire businesses Penny Licks and Rochelle’s House of Beauty plus Stirling-based Nurse Michelle Medical Aesthetics.

HEAT, which stands for Highlighting Entrepreneurship All Together, is a prestigious competition to find the best new business ideas and start-ups in the Forth Valley region. Run by Ceteris, it is supported by Business Gateway colleagues in Clackmanannshire, Stirling and Falkirk. This year, the HEAT 23 assembled an impressive lineup of sponsors who contributed to the incredible prize pool. Up for grabs was over £10,000 worth of prizes to be shared across the top 3 winning entries.

This year’s competition took place on 20 September during Forth Valley Business Week. Seven finalists from across the area battled it out for the top 3 places.  A panel of five ‘dragons’ had the unenviable task of judging the pitches. The prestigious panel of industry leaders was made up of sponsors:

Representatives from the other sponsors STEP, Ceteris and Gro Commerce were in the audience.

Meet the HEAT 23 Competition Winners

Competition was incredibly fierce and the dragons were impressed with the high standard of entries this year. After much deliberation, the top 3 business ideas were chosen.

Overall winner – Penny Licks

Clackmannanshire business Penny Licks already run a successful artisan ice cream business with customers from across the Forth Valley. Their plans for a related new venture impressed the judges for its potential and scalability. Watch this space as they develop their new offering!

Second Place – Rochelle’s House of Beauty

Rochelle’s House of Beauty based in Clackmannanshire, offers a haven of pampering, well-being and self-care services. The second-place prize will enable this new business to expand into offering training and other services.

Third Place – Nurse Michelle Medical Aesthetics

Claiming the third spot is Stirling-based business Nurse Michelle Medical Aesthetics.  The judges liked the strong values of the business that prioritise a person-centred approach to aesthetics, with client wellbeing at the centre of their treatments.

The dragons were so impressed by all the finalists, that Lynn from Forth Valley Chamber of Commerce has offered all of them a free 12-month chamber membership.

A word from the HEAT 23 competition winner

Stephen Sloper from Penny Licks said: “Winning the Heat 23 Competition is such a fantastic result for the Penny Licks team. Winning the competition just at the end of our first year has been such a positive boost for us all and really has set us up for what lies ahead. For the Dragons to reinforce our vision that this business is both credible and scalable is so important and the prizes won from the competition will all be used to allow us to grow as a business.

“It’s so important for small local businesses to be recognised particularly during such trying times. There’s been a real buzz about the café since we won, many of our customers have come in especially to congratulate us all.”

Mandy Campbell, Business Gateway Clackmannanshire Adviser and organiser of the competition said: “The HEAT is not just a competition; it’s a launchpad for local entrepreneurs to turn their visions into reality. The competition not only provides a platform for showcasing innovative ideas but also offers valuable support to help these ideas flourish. The standard was so high this year and we have ended up with three worthy winners. We’re grateful to all our sponsors for their involvement and support. This includes Forth Valley Chamber of Commerce for extending their prize of a year’s membership of the chamber to all the finalists. We all agree they deserve it!”

A Diverse Legacy of HEAT Competition Winners

The HEAT 23 competition winners join the ranks of successful champions who have made their mark on the local economy. The Forth Valley region continues to be a hotbed of creativity and entrepreneurship. The HEAT remains the catalyst for nurturing and celebrating these remarkable talents. We’re looking forward to the HEAT 2024!!