2020 applicants
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Southend students enter the ‘Dragons’ Den’

  • Date

    Tue 26 Nov 19

Dragons Den Southend

Essex students brought their business ideas to the Dragons’ Den in Southend with the hope of securing funding for their fledgling companies.

The competition took place at The Forum on the Southend Campus and was organised by Essex Startups with eight groups of Southend students presenting their ideas to a panel of business experts.

Head of Start-Up Support Andy Mew and Business Support Manager John Stenhouse were joined by Founder of CEO of the Hive Enterprise Centre Mark Kass and Aideen Sadler of City Fibre to form the judging panel.

Students had five minutes to explain what their business idea was, what made it unique and what they would do with the money if they won.

Joint winners were Verity Sharpe from Knicka’s Theatre and Lois Derbyshire and Dimitris Dimitriou of Titanborn. Both businesses received £250 each.


 Knicka's Theatre is a local initiative for promoting local stand-up comedians with a particular focus on female artists. Knicka's Theatre will host "open mic" stand-up events which will help local artists develop their skills and confidence on stage and gain recognition in their community.

Titanborn Ltd aims to provide firearms training for performance artists by hosting basic, intermediate and advanced workshops for actors. These workshops will equip the actors with a range of specialised skills and knowledge for theatrical use of firearm handling, safety, and knowledge for television, film and theatre performances.

Runner-up in the competition was Amay Bansal from Fund-U who won £150. Fund-U’s goal is to use financial technology and artificial intelligence to create online platforms for small businesses, so they can borrow working capital funds effectively and efficiently with minimal risk.

Andy Mew said: “The quality of the pitches was absolutely amazing. It’s fantastic to hear the business ideas our students are working on and the University of Essex is committed to supporting their development through mentoring, business support events and access to funding.

“I’d like to thank the students who took part, as well as Mark Kass, Aideen Adler and John Stenhouse for joining the panel and providing excellent feedback to those involved in pitching.”

For more information or advice on starting up your own business, please contact the Essex Startups team.