Southampton Strivers impress at Dragon’s Den

Southampton Strivers impress at Dragon’s Den

After 12 weeks of hard work, our Strivers in Southampton finally got the opportunity to pitch their businesses to a panel of judges in what was, according to Chris Adams, the Employment and Training Manager at Radian Housing Group and a veteran Dragon, “one of the highest quality Dragon’s Dens [I’ve] seen.”

“I’ve been to nine Dragon’s Dens now, and the level of passion and enthusiasm from this group has beaten the rest hands down,” Chris said.

With a wide variety of businesses, from luxury chocolatier Michael Green of Chocovert to personal trainer, Lisa Small to carpenter William Vale of Alpha Interiors, the day was a perfect way to celebrate the successes of all participants whose hard work and dedication to their businesses impressed all of our Dragons.

On the panel sat Chris Adams from Radian, Michelle Daniells, business mentor,  Emma Judd of Briscoe French PR, and Scott Greenwood from Radian.

James Cox

Striver, James Cox, pitching his media production company, Allassein

The judges were highly impressed by all of our Strivers, offering each of them the opportunity to undertake training in social media with Radian and a place in the Radian Marketplace in September. The judges provided each of the businesses with some valuable advice and each of the participants walked away from the day with something of value – from one-on-one business mentoring and advice sessions offered by several of the judges, to much needed start-up funds for equipment and tools to contacts in the housing association and relevant industries.

It was an eventful day with the Madame Mayor Councillor Jane Walsh making an appearance to congratulate our Strivers and present them with their certificates.

Mayor of Eastleigh and Gilles Dumont

The Mayor of Eastleigh presenting Gilles Dumont with his certificate

There could also be a double wedding on the cards! The first proposal of the day came from Michelle, whose first words after listening to Michael’s presentation and tasting his chocolates were, “Firstly, will you marry me?” The second proposal came from the Mayor’s Escort, Mr Len Welsh, who popped the question to Karen after being extremely impressed with the cakes that she had baked for the day!

We would like to say a huge thank you to Karen from All out Cakes, Claire Pope of Good Stoff and Michael Green of Chocovert who all catered for the event afternoon tea. Karen provided us with a sugar hit with her trio of decadent cakes – Ginger and Lime, Coconut and Lemon with vanilla butter cream and Chocolate with cherry cream. Claire’s gluten-free, dairy-free brownies and orange shortcake also went down a treat. Also thank you to Michael for providing Chocolates for everyone at the Dragon’s Den – from maple and pecan, to honey and poppyseed, to cucumber and cumin, there was something for everyone’s tastes.

We heard many words of wisdom from both Michelle and previous striver, Jamie Kemp of JK Oliver Chocolates. Michelle shared her experiences of starting a food business with all its ups and downs. Jamie provided wise words for the group, urging the new startups to “just keep going, to play to your strengths, and to continually look back on the little tiny achievements, and be proud of what you’ve achieved.”

We are incredibly proud of all our Strivers whose dedication and hard work has truly paid off. We wish them all the best in the future.

Our panel of 'cuddly' Dragons

Our panel of ‘cuddly’ Dragons