Business Quest Beckons Would-Be Entrepreneurs

9 December 2009

Peter Gadsby

Businessman Peter Gadsby has teamed up with the University to launch Business Quest.

I'm convinced there are students and graduates who have the ability to succeed.

Peter Gadsby.

One of the East Midlands' best known and most successful businessmen has teamed up with the University of Derby to find the business leaders of tomorrow - with one entrepreneur set to receive £20,000 worth of support.

Peter Gadsby - Derbyshire-born entrepreneur, businessman and former chairman of Derby County FC - personally launched two new initiatives, Business Quest 2010 and the Cygnet Fund, with the University at a presentation at its Kedleston Road site, Derby, on Wednesday December 9.

The two competitions - which are being directly funded by Peter himself - are designed to run in parallel and become an annual fixture of the region's business calendar.

Business Quest 2010

Business Quest will challenge Derby students and graduates to 'pitch' a business growth plan for their company - which needs to have been trading for at least three months - to receive the £20,000 business support package from Peter.

The deadline to apply for Business Quest 2010 is January 17, next year. Six shortlisted applicants will then go on to work with Peter's business contacts in leading East Midlands' companies, who will be giving up their time for free to improve the applicants' business plans.

They will then 'pitch' for the top prize in front of a panel of judges including Peter, a senior University representative and prominent business people. The Business Quest 2010 winner will be announced in March (2010).

The £20,000 support package will include mentoring from Peter and his colleagues, financial aid and other help. The latter could include rent free, or discounted, business premises, or help with legal matters, for example.

Applicants should currently be, or have been, on the University's Enterprise Inc or SPEED (Student Placements for Entrepreneurs in Education) programmes - helping students and graduates develop business ideas - or Start Up and Go, which gives financial aid and mentoring help to those unemployed or facing redundancy in the next six months to set up their own business.

Cygnet Fund

Running alongside the Business Quest competition will be the Cygnet Fund. This is aimed at people currently, or previously, on the SPEED, Enterprise Inc or Start Up and Go programmes who are still researching and exploring a business idea, and have yet to begin trading.

Cygnet Fund will provide them with £2,000 to develop their business idea. It is hoped those benefiting from this fund will go on to become Business Quest competitors in future years.

Peter said: "I'm looking for the next entrepreneurs in Derby. People who have the drive, ambition and determination to take their business to the next level, and start making a real contribution to the local economy.

"I'm convinced there are students and graduates who have the ability to succeed. What they need is some practical and meaningful help, and this is a once in a lifetime chance for them. It's a unique and exciting project and I'm greatly looking forward to my involvement."

Fiona Church - Dean of the University's Faculty of Business, Computing and Law - added: "This is a fantastic opportunity, both for would-be entrepreneurs and fledgling businesses. Both prizes aim to give new businesses a flying start.

"The expertise and experience the winners will be able to tap into will be priceless to them. We are delighted to be able to offer this to our students, and to be part of something designed to improve economic prosperity and employment opportunities in Derby."

Potential applicants for both Business Quest 2010 and the Cygnet Fund, University staff and others were in the audience for the launch event.

*For more information about Business Quest and the Cygnet Fund, and how to apply, see www.derby.ac.uk/businessquest.

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For further media information please contact Press and PR Officer Sean Kirby on 01332 591891 or 07876 476103, or email s.kirby@derby.ac.uk.

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