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Entrepreneurial residents pitch ideas Dragon's Den style

Posted on 30 March 2016

The Hyde Group, Wandle and Peabody have worked in partnership to offer budding entrepreneurs a life-changing opportunity to get their own businesses off the ground at an exciting Dragon’s Den-type event.

Enterprise CUBE, a highly experienced social enterprise specialising in business start-up training has been working with residents in Deptford, South London for the past 12 weeks. The culmination of this Strive programme was the celebration event at London’s BFI venue on Tottenham Court Road on Thursday 24th March.

At this event, 14 housing association residents pitched, promoted and presented their business ideas to a panel of “Dragons”, who offered advice and opportunities to the brave presenters.

Each panellist scored applicants against four key areas:

  • Their business idea, its potential and viability,
  • Their passion for making a success of their business,
  • The skills they can apply to running their business, and
  • The business plan’s potential and robustness.

The judges included Hyde’s Group Director of Housing, Carol Carter; Peabody’s Director of Community Programmes, Veronica Kirwan; Wandle’s Senior Community Investment Manager Matthew Buckham.

Once all the applicants had presented their business case the panel adjourned to compile their scores and compare them against each start-up’s request. Enterprise CUBE’s business advisers were also on hand to provide advice and further information on the businesses where necessary.

This process has helped applicants gain invaluable confidence and practice in presenting their business case. It was also a wonderful way for them to share their dreams of starting a business and celebrate the hard work they have done to start making it happen. The overarching theme of the day was to reward achievement, rather than solely focus on the assessment process.

Tom Berrill, Enterprise Project Manager at Enterprise CUBE, who led the training said: "It's amazing to see the impact of organisations like Peabody, Hyde and Wandle all coming together help local people.

"The residents on the course will be creating local businesses that will soon offer everything from a modern twist on Italian cakes to a new brand in environmentally friendly fabric nappies.  Starting a business is not a small task, but all the residents have shown a real determination to turn their dreams in a reality. It's exciting to be able to help a talented group of people to take the first steps in launching their businesses.”

Suzanne Bingham, Work Placement and Training Co-ordinator at The Hyde Group said: “This event has been an amazing success and it has been wonderful to see so many great ventures develop and grow during the course. I’m incredibly proud of all the applicants and grateful for the support of our partners - we really couldn’t have achieved this without them.”

Peabody’s Director of Community Programmes, Veronica Kirwan said: “Peabody is delighted to be involved in this exciting partnership supporting people into employment and becoming more financially independent. This has been an amazing project that has seen residents attend our 12 week course with an idea and learn skills and confidence to develop them into a business.

“Throughout the day we have seen participants present their business case. Their passion, skills and dedication is evident and today has been a real celebration of their achievements.”

Matthew Buckham, Wandle’s Senior Community Investment Manager said: “Supporting budding businesses is a key aim of our enterprise programme. I’m very pleased that Wandle is able to help residents into self employment, to be more financially independent, and to provide wider benefits to the local community. We are delighted that local small businesses continue to grow as a result of the training on offer, and that the entrepreneurs were able to pitch at such a high standard in the dragon’s den.”