Budding entrepreneurs in Barnsley to face Dragons' Den

13 January 2011

Aspiring entrepreneurs face a ‘Dragons’ Den’-style quizzing in a bid to clinch a share of thousands of pounds.
The University Campus Barnsley (UCB) is offering business start-up grants each worth £2,400 to eight promising Barnsley ventures under the Enterprising Barnsley programme. 
Shortlisted candidates will pitch their ideas before a panel on January 21 in the style of the popular BBC show ‘Dragons’ Den’.
In addition to funding, those successful will receive free one-to-one mentoring from a business advisor and access to a number of free workshops and networking events via Barnsley Business Mine. The facility supports students and recent graduates from the University of Huddersfield - which UCB is part of - by helping them to develop ideas for businesses or self-employment for up to 12 months.  
To be eligible for the grants, candidates have to be current students at the University of Huddersfield or have graduated from any university within the last five years. The business must be launched in Barnsley.
Barnsley Business Mine coordinator Suzanne Bagworth said there had been a good response to a call for submissions.
Among business ideas or existing fledgling enterprises in the running are a publishing company, new product development, video production services and selling handmade clothing to original designs.   
Suzanne said: “The panellists will be looking for projects that are viable and could eventually create employment for others in the Barnsley area, as well as the applicant’s enthusiasm for making the business work. They will also assess the degree to which a grant would contribute to the success of the business.
“Support at the early stages of a venture can really make all the difference, so it’s a fantastic opportunity for the candidates who have made it through to this final stage of the selection procedure. They will all be looking to really sell their plans to the panel.”
On the panel is Dr Kelly Smith, head of enterprise at University of Huddersfield; Robert Watson, partner at Barnsley-based chartered accountants and business advisers Gibson Booth; Tracey Johnson, creative and digital industries sector specialist at Barnsley Development Agency, and Martin Beasley, manager of the Enterprising Barnsley programme.
Enterprising Barnsley is a partnership between Barnsley Development Agency, Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre and University Campus Barnsley. It offers business support to Barnsley businesses with growth potential
Enterprising Barnsley has attracted £2.89m investment from the European Regional Development Fund as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme.
There will be another round of similar start-up grants available in the spring. For more information about this and the Business Mine, contact Suzanne on 01226 644262 or at s.bagworth@hud.ac.uk   
For more details about Enterprising Barnsley go to www.enterprisingbarnsley.co.uk or contact Martin Beasley on 01226 772648 or at martinbeasley@barnsley.gov.uk
Notes to News Editors:
For further information contact Suzanne or Martin as above. 

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