23/07/2012 - Permalink

Organisations now selected to join ‘Dragons’ Den’ event

Related topics: Community / Partner organisations

Several voluntary and community sector organisations across the county have now been selected to take part in Shropshire’s very own ‘Dragons’ Den’ event on Thursday 26 July 2012 at The Academy, Old Potts Way in Shrewsbury. 

The event, which takes place 5pm–8pm, offers a unique and exciting opportunity for those within the voluntary and community sector looking to develop and grow their organisations to gain access to some of the best business expertise in the county. 

Seven organisations, including social enterprises, community groups and registered charities, will be getting in front of a panel of ‘Dragons’ made up of leading figures from within the Shropshire business community, in a bid to gain invaluable access to a package of business support services. 

Five highly-experienced entrepreneurs from companies at the forefront of their respective industries have pledged to donate their services to any of the competitors who impress them at the dedicated enterprise event. 

Participants have the chance to receive advice on how best to strategically promote its services by Felicity Wingrove, Founder and Director of Zen Communications, one of the biggest PR firms in the region, who has over 13 years’ experience working with FTSE 100 companies and national PR agencies.  They will also be able to pitch to secure financial advice from Keith Winter, Partner of Dyke Yaxley, who brings more than 40 years’ accountancy experience to the table. 

In addition, the seven finalists can make their case to obtain assistance on people management and employment issues from Justine Vaughan, Founder and Director of Shrewsbury human resources consultancy Triangle HR; try to pick the legal brain of PCB Solicitors’ Founding Partner Mike Surzyn, who has enjoyed a hugely successful career dating back more than a quarter of a century; and aim to convince business planning and change management expert Nick Gilbert, of Muller Dairy, to help them map out a growth plan for successful development. 

Applications to the ‘Den’ were picked from a ‘hat’ and seven finalists were selected to go through to pitching stage, where they will give a 10-minute presentation to the panel on why their organisation deserves the support being offered.   In order to ensure they deliver a winning pitch, all participating organisations have received training and support from Toby Poulsom, Principal Consultant at The Academy.

The finalists include:

  • Confide 
  • Citizens Advice Shropshire
  • Imagematch
  • Landau
  • Young Advisors West Midlands (Shropshire and Telford)
  • West Mercia Women’s Aid
  • Autonomy Self Help Group 

The event is part of a series of initiatives led by the Voluntary and Community Sector Assembly (VCSA) and funded by Shropshire Council to encourage collaborative working between the county’s business sector and the voluntary and community sector.  It will see participants pitching for support across areas including marketing, law, finance, human resources and business development.

Gwilym Butler, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member with responsibility for the voluntary and community sector, said:

“Many people we’ve spoken to within this sector in particular have really struggled to get in front of businesses and potential investors, and the fact that we have a panel of influential business leaders just waiting to offer their advice and support is just fantastic.

“We hope this experience will be really beneficial to these organisations who will be given the opportunity of learning from the very best that Shropshire has to offer.”

Sarah Fishbourne, Director at Impact Consultancy, who are organising the event, said:

“The skills and expertise that the ‘Dragons’ bring to the table could be the stepping stone these voluntary organisations need to secure more investment for their worthwhile projects, and generate a greater awareness for their causes.

“We, and all the Dragons who are so generously donating their time and expertise, can’t wait for the seven organisations to make their pitches, and look forward to helping them achieve a strong, sustainable, and successful future.”

For further information about the event call VCSA support team on 01743 252740. 

Further information

Organisations invited to attend the event are:

Confide have been in existence for 25 years; they provide long term counselling for people who can’t afford private counselling.  They also run professional development courses for counselors.

Citizens Advice Shropshire – helps people resolve their legal, money and other problems by providing free, independent and confidential advice and by influencing policymakers.

Imagematch is an employability and training social enterprise company that works with long term unemployed people that are furthest away from the labour market to support them in the transition to permanent employment.

Landau supports people with learning disabilities and low educational attainment into employment.  It also provides prevocational support and training to help long-term unemployed and young people prepare for and secure employment.

Young Advisors West Midlands (Shropshire and Telford) are aged 15-21 and  provide consultancy to  organisations on engaging young people and making sure services reflect their needs and aspirations.  They carry out youth proofing of strategies, service investigations, engagement with young people, community issues work and improvement of neighbourhoods and strategic advice to government.     

West Mercia Women’s Aid is a lead charity specialising in the delivery of services to victims and survivors of domestic abuse.  

Autonomy is an independent, self-funding, self-help and social group for young people and adults with Asperger’s syndrome (AS).  Covering Shropshire and the borderlands, Autonomy has over 60 active members.   Autonomy is also a social enterprise which runs Awareness of AS sessions which fund our group and also offer autism specific mentoring, advocacy, advice and support to professionals, our members and their families.