2018/19,  Competitions

QUB Dragons’ Den

Queen’s Students scoop £15,000 at QUB Dragons’ Den

Queen’s University Belfast’s Dragons’ Den, sponsored by the MCS Group, Cavanagh Kelly, Tughans Solicitors and the Engineers in Business Fund came to an electrifying end again this year with 13 competitors braving the den to pitch their business idea to a panel of business experts.

With this year’s prize pot totalling £15,000, competition was fierce. Over 120 students applied, all aiming to brave the den and have the dragons fund their business idea to get it to the next stage.  Following an initial shortlist of 53 startup ideas down to 25 to the quick pitch stage of the competition, 13 finalists were then selected to pitch their idea to this years’ Dragons

The competition is one of many initiatives organised by Enterprise SU, the unit responsible for student entrepreneurship within Queen’s University, to help Queen’s students develop enterprise skills and start their own business. Throughout the competition Enterprise SU provide business support workshops as well as specialist mentoring to prepare the students for the panel of experts who will decide their fate.

The final decision proved a tough one with the Dragons choosing to split the £15,000 investment amongst 4 of the 13 competitors: Agile Roto, WriteEasy, Stand and Amp Signal Optimiser.

Louise Smyth of the MCS Group said, “The QUB Dragons Den programme gives emerging entrepreneurs a platform to pitch their ideas and showcase some amazing innovations not just to businesses but potential investors. I have been extremely impressed by the team at Queens, the quality of coaching and mentoring the students are exposed to throughout the programme is evident throughout the process. Standards were extremely high, and I came away excited and extremely impressed by the professionalism of the talented individuals who made it to the final, all are clearly destined to make real impact to the world around us, this is an amazing programme.”

Catherine Martin from sponsor CavanaghKelly said, “The standard of business ideas and quality of the pitches exceeded all of my expectations.  The amount of talent on show in the Den was a credit to the students, Enterprise SU and all those who have worked with the students in preparation of the event.   The awarding of the £15,000 prize pot was an extremely difficult decision for the Dragons, The future of the NI economy is definitely bright if we can continue to foster such talented, entrepreneurial students”.

Lewis Loane, overall winner of the competition, said, “Dragons’ Den experience is an excellent opportunity for any student entrepreneur. Meeting other students with great business ideas and enthusiasm was a key highlight of the experience. The support given by Enterprise SU was exemplarily, their knowledge and guidance transformed my approach to business. The expert Dragon’s were encouraging and engaging and have already opened doors to new business opportunities for my Signal Optimiser.’  Lewis was one of 4 winners in the competition, and won £6,000 to help him focus on getting through to the next round of the Catalyst Inc. Invent Competition.   

All photographs taken by Aurora Photography: https://aurorapa.com/

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