Lights, Camera, Action…..Queens University: Dragons Den
Head of Mid-Ulster and Fermanagh Business Centre Shauna Burns recounts her recent experience as a judge on Queen’s University’s Dragons Den, where enterprising local students faced a grilling as they pitched for new investment…
IT bench marking for the agriculture sector; concierge for the nomadic digital community; medical diagnostic devices ; chargers for electric cars – these were just a few of the ideas from Northern Irelands brightest young students at the final of QUB Dragons Den last week.
The basement of Elmwood Hall was transformed into a film set just like the real Dragons Den, with the 11 final businesses pitching for £5,000 investment. Myself and the other Dragons, Philip Bain (Director, Shredbank), Nancy Brown (business consultant and entrepreneur), John McKee (Chief Executive, Linkubator),and David Bradshaw (Client Executive, Invest Northern Ireland) were given an insight to the future. We saw not just students with ideas but with ambition and with products that were ready for the market.
It was truly inspiring to see that the future of Northern Ireland economic growth is in the hands of people with such diverse and innovative ideas. I believe that all of them will become leading entrepreneurial figures and business people of the future.
Winner: SleepState Labs
As judges we faced a tough decision as the standard was so high but ultimately we decided on one winner – SleepState Labs who won the full £5k investment for their sleep detecting mobile application. Each finalist also received 12 months business accommodation at QUB, which will hopefully enable them to evolve their businesses..
Across Northern Ireland, Ulster Bank encounters many new and exciting business ideas and one of the refreshing challenges I find is helping turn those ideas into reality. Our dedicated start-up proposition is a great tool to help us do this, and this has given me even more motivation to get out and support local enterprise.