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Friday, 27 March 2015

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Entrepreneurs take on dragons

ENTERPRISING young people and ambitious entrepreneurs wowed the judges in a business competition.

A total of nine business owners braved the Evening Mail’s very own Dragons’ Den yesterday.

They were hoping to win a three-month advertising campaign, access to free business educational courses and advice from the University of Cumbria and Armstrong Watson as well as one-to-one mentoring from some of South Cumbria’s leading business bosses.

Each entrant was given just 10 minutes to pitch their businesses to the judges; Evening Mail business correspondent Amy Fenton, Duncan Peake of the Holker Group, Mike Armstead from Wax Lyrical, Forge Europa’s Peter Barton, David Threlkeld Armstrong Watson and Sarah Stables from the University of Cumbria.

Some of the entrants used props to plug their products to the panel; Simon Diss from Cowran Estate gave each judge a goody box filled with homemade ham, chocolate and other delicacies, Lakes Bakery’s ElliotJohnson presented a selection of his wares and Helen and Mark Towers from Doe Wood Lodges brought a series of picture boards to show the stages of their holiday lodge development.

The judges were also impressed by the way some business owners, such as Jo Scowcroft from urban streetwear outfitters Street Asylum, Phil Collier from Turnstone HR Consultancy and youngster Jonathan Chapman of Cumbria Karting, illustrated how they had built their companies from scratch after identifying a gap in their respective markets.

Another young entrant, Adele Broadhurst, showed how she had spotted a potential business model ahead of the industry’s boom.

Jorge Moul impressed by telling the story of how he sold his first business – a lettings company, at the tender age of 21.

The judges now have the difficult task of selecting three winners – no easy feat.

After the five-hour session, Amy Fenton said: “The number of businesses that entered has been overwhelming and the judges were fascinated by each of the entrants.

“We now have the mammoth task of picking three winners and we look forward to the next stage of revealing the winners; in the Evening Mail on January 11.”

For all the latest news and updates on our LBA competition, visit www.nwemail.co.uk/home/local-business-accelerators-competition-latest-news-1.897602

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