Great Barr social enterprise wins Dragon-style investment cash
A Birmingham ‘Dragons Den’ style competition has invested in a new social enterprise working with parents to improve child safety.
The winning idea, ‘R They Safe’, was one of nine not-for-personal-profit business ventures pitched to a team of three potential investors in a contest based on the popular BBC TV series.
The event, organised by iSE (Initiative for Social Entrepreneurs), offered the winner access to £2,400 from UnLtd, £1,500 from Business Link, a laptop, incubator space at iSE’s recently opened Social Enterprise Hub and business support from iSE.
Lorraine Hawker, from Great Barr, was behind the idea of the social enterprise which now has secured financial backing and business support for the project.
“Winning this competition has given me a real boost,” she said. “iSE has been so responsive and supportive and having a laptop and the money has enabled me to get admin support and really get the business off the ground.”
The original BBC Dragon’s Den gives budding entrepreneurs three minutes to pitch for investment from a team of multi millionaires.
Similar to the TV show, the iSE contest has given a huge opportunity to Lorraine, who is now working on setting up a CIC (Community Interest Company), with the aim of starting to deliver training sessions for parents from April.
Cheryl Garvey, a judge from enterprise supporting organisation Make Your Mark, said: “Lorraine’s proposal for ‘R They Safe’ stood out as she had clearly done her homework and successfully identified a market need and potential customers.”
Tony Clabby, judging on behalf of UnLtd, added: “I was particularly impressed with Lorraine’s articulacy, identification of the market for her service and her commitment – evidenced by her decision to go part-time and invest her energy in developing her enterprise idea.”
Business Link’s judge, Paul Warwick, added: “Although we felt that Lorraine’s idea was closest to being realised with the help we were offering, we were very impressed by the passion, desire and commitment to social impact exhibited by all the contestants.”
Sarah Crawley, chief executive of iSE, said: “We may well look to repeat the activity in another six months, giving others the opportunity to pitch to receive a boost to their start up process.”