Six Daventry-based entrepreneurs have received donations of up to £500 towards the start up of their own business, following a Dragon’s Den style pitch.
The grants were awarded by Daventry & District Housing (DDH), part of Futures Housing Group, and Spire Homes, a member of Longhurst Group, during a special event held at the Holiday Inn in Flore on Tuesday 1 December.
One of the standout ideas came from DDH tenant, Roger Colby, who recently joined the organisation’s Scrutiny Panel. Formerly based in Washington DC where he was employed by the United Nations, Roger has designed an economical way of extracting water from under the ground so that it can be used as drinking water and to heat homes.
Another DDH tenant that demonstrated business acumen and determination to succeed is Peter Downes, a trained Psychotherapist specialising in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. A local Parish Councillor in Barby and member of the DDH Insight Committee, Peter is looking to set up his own therapy business.
Other business ideas included mobile hairdressing, dog grooming, selling nappy cakes and an organic, vegan food business. In total, ten budding Alan Sugar’s and Karren Brady’s were supported by the two housing providers to complete a 12-week business start up course run by the Enterprise Cube.
The Strive programme provides participants with a chance to learn new skills, develop confidence and receive advice on things like bookkeeping, budgeting, cash flow, marketing and insurance to help them refine their business plans.
The entrepreneurs then had the opportunity to pitch to a panel of judges from DDH and Spire Homes for further investment, support and tips on how to get their business off to a flying start.
One of the Dragons judging the presentations, Daventry & District Housing Assistant Director, Lynn Aston, said: “It was great to see six our tenants using their initiative and talking so passionately about their ideas and future business plans.
“Schemes like Strive are so important because they enable people to become financially independent. By helping our tenants access this programme we have given them an opportunity to learn practical skills and gain the confidence to start up and develop their own businesses.”
Experience amongst the group ranged from those trying to develop a creative idea or original invention to some that already taken the first steps to setting up their businesses and were seeking support to expand.
Helen Mead, Customer Engagement Team Manager at Spire Homes, said: “The tenants who’ve taken part have gotten so much out of the Strive business start up course.
“Helping our tenants find work, develop their aspirations and become financially independent is a huge part of what we do and helping people start their own businesses is a really unique way of doing this.”
“A huge thank you also needs to go to Aaron Services and Keepmoat Property Services for their contribution towards helping us fund the course!”