Another successful Dragon’s Den for Sovereign in Newbury

Another successful Dragon’s Den for Sovereign in Newbury

Twelve weeks of hard work finally culminated in an extremely high calibre Dragon’s Den in Newbury on Friday 17th of July. Eleven budding entrepreneurs, including two who’ve participated in our Online Learning program came together to wow the judges with their passion and commitment to each of their respective businesses.

There was an esteemed panel of judges including Colin Gallaugher, Head of Operations for Sovereign Housing Association in Hampshire/Dorset, Mandy Day, Regional Housing Director for West of England, Ian Gilders Director of Business Intelligence for Sovereign and Julian Starling, IT Director at Sovereign Housing Association. Ann Santry, CEO of Sovereign Housing Association also made an appearance in the morning to congratulate the Strivers and wish them luck for their pitches.

Lin Dewsnap of Hippy Core Yoga presenting to the panel

Though many of the resident entrepreneurs were nervous about presenting to the panel, they soon found out that the scary Dragons were not so scary after all, providing some extremely valuable advice and offering a range of support. Many of the Strivers received a £250 start-up grant from Sovereign, while others were offered mentoring by some of the Dragons themselves, and the opportunity to sell their products in a Sovereign marketplace in the coming months.

Michelle Dolby of Tinys Little Gems receiving her certificate from the Dragons

Some of the entrepreneurs are already up and running, such as Ann Doughty who runs her own bookkeeping business called Abacus Accountancy. The Dragons have generously offered her a £250 start-up grant to help her gain further qualifications and training, as well as a mentor within Sovereign to assist her in the future with her expansion plans and taking on an apprentice. Among the group there were many creatives, ranging from Michelle Dolby with Tinys Little Gems who makes silver handprint jewellery, Rob Boardman of Aquaregia Design who also creates bespoke silver jewellery, Verity Murricane of The Rat’s Whiskers and her unique sugars, fruit teas and crystalised peels and Lisa Gibbons, who upcycles used furniture, giving it a new lease of life in her business, Beloved Treasures.