Six entrepreneurs of tomorrow have won a share of £25,000 in start-up funding after being named finalists in the Dragons Den challenge launched by Shaf Rasul (online Dragon's Den star and entrepreneur).
It attracted entries from across the country from innovators developing new technology spanning software, hardware and manufacturing solutions for the property market.
After making their pitches earlier this month to bag the top prize, judges eventually decided that all six entrepreneurs – Omer Panni, Chris Boyd, Ananda Prasanna, Jordan Reid, Andrew MacLaren and Bartosz Soltowski – should receive a share of the prize money ranging from £2,500 to £8,800.
It had originally been intended that prizes would be capped at £5,000, but Soltowski was awarded the top amount of £8,800 after what judges described as a “stand-out presentation” for his plan, Smart Grids for Development. He and the other finalists will also get access to business networks and mentoring opportunities to further develop their ideas.
Rasul – who is the university's entrepreneur in residence – led the judging panel that also included Allan Mackenzie of Lloyds, Glen Gilson and Matthew Gray of Gilson Gray, Les MacAndrew of Graham+Sibbald, Nick Mauder of DJ Alexander and Alex Watts of Kingsford Estates. Their original remit had been to select five winners receiving £5,000 each.
“The panel was so impressed by the quality of presentations displayed throughout the final that they decided all were well deserved winners and should share the money,” Rasul said.
“That's not a cop out. It's simply a reflection of how uniformly strong the pitches all were, and how rigorous and assuredly conveyed their ideas proved to be.”