28 Jul Orbit residents tame the Dragons in Bexley and Stratford upon Avon
Last week saw two highly successful Dragon’s Den days for Orbit Housing Association, with 24 grassroots entrepreneurs pitching their businesses in two locations – Bexley and Stratford-upon-Avon. This was the first time Enterprise CUBE has worked with Orbit and it was a great success. It was great to see Orbit throwing their weight behind their residents, offering grants, mentoring and other valuable support. And it doesn’t stop there, with Orbit continuing to support its residents with the Strive online program.
It was a big day in Bexley on Wednesday, with 18 Strivers pitching a range of business ideas, from gluten-free, sugar-free cakes and a catering business for Nigerian cuisine, to two separate preschools for underprivileged children, to trauma cleaning services, handbag making and everything in between.
On the panel sat, Vivien Knibbs, Executive Director at Orbit South, Sam Scharf, Head of Community Investment at Orbit Housing Group, Vanessa Nicholls, Board member of Orbit, and Lawrence Baxter, Project Manager for Wates.
The ‘cuddly dragons’ on the panel were highly impressed with the quality of the presentations and the huge amount of effort each Striver has made in the past twelve weeks to form their business ideas and become ready to pitch their ideas. Both Leon Smith of Total Trauma Cleaning and Kathleen O’Connor of Original Me handbags both received a £500 grant to help them with the set up costs of their businesses, with Kathleen also receiving a nomination for the Brian Griffiths Award from Orbit. Several Strivers also received laptop computers to help them on their way with setting up their businesses with others securing valuable mentoring help from Orbit staff and ongoing support.
In Bexley, we were treated to lunch by Yemi Jaji, who plans to start a pop up restaurant and catering company called Mytees, which will specialise in Nigerian cuisine, while Olamide Otu of Dolam’s catered for all those in the room with a sweet tooth, with a delicious Orbit themed cake.
Meanwhile on Thursday, in Stratford upon Avon, there were just five Strivers pitching to a panel of three judges including Sam Scharf, Head of Community Investment for Orbit Group, Andrew McDermott, Divisional Managing Director at Orbit Group and Grant Richardson a non-executive board member of Orbit Group.
The judges were blown away by the calibre of the presentations, and this was reflected in the generosity of their offers to each of the Strivers. James Purvin, who plans to buy a food truck and start operating IC Cafe in the Lighthorne Heath area, truly shone throughout his presentation and was successful in securing the Brian Griffiths Award which will help him buy a van and begin operating the café.
We’d like to thank all of our Dragons for giving up their time to sit on the panels in Bexley and Stratford upon Avon, and Orbit for its continued support of Enterprise CUBE and grassroots enterprise. We’re looking forward to seeing the success of all of our Orbit Strivers and wish them the best of luck in the future.