Search For First 'Business Quest' Star Nears Its End

5 March 2010

Business Quest

The Business Quest 2010 finalists are (l to right) Daniel Lamoon, Christopher Redshaw, Lydia Squire, Stuart Boyd (blue top at back), Carol Gascoyne, Paul Cummins. Missing is a representative from seventh finalist, Daniel Alexander Associates

A unique device that encourages drivers to brake better and a fresh approach to finding tomorrow's football stars are among the entrepreneurial ideas chasing more than £20,000 worth of business support in two unique competitions.

Peter Gadsby - Derbyshire-born entrepreneur, businessman and former chairman of Derby County FC - and the University of Derby launched two new initiatives in December (2009), Business Quest and the Cygnet Fund. Both competitions, funded by Peter, are designed to run together and become an annual fixture of the business calendar.

  • Business Quest is for Derby students and graduates who've recently completed one of the University programmes encouraging entrepreneurship - such as SPEED, Enterprise Inc or Start Up and Go - and who are already trading. They will 'pitch' a growth plan for their business in pursuit of a £20,000 business support package.
  • Cygnet Fund is for current or former participants of the same University programmes who have a business idea but haven't yet begun trading. One finalist's idea will receive £2,000.

Shortlists for both competitions have now been drawn up.

The seven finalists for Business Quest 2010 include Wild Horse Tai Chi's mobile classes, run by a former bank worker whose health was improved by the ancient martial art; Run-Rabbit-Run, a bespoke sewing service transforming vintage clothing for modern women; and Daniel Alexander Associates, a sports agency with a new approach to finding tomorrow's football stars.

Other finalists are design and media company Revolver Revolver, artist Paul Cummins' Ceramics, From Dusk 2 Dawn arts and culture magazine, and street art and events company Subism.

The eight shortlisted business concepts for the Cygnet Fund include a business designing equipment for female martial artists (by student Roxanne Coghill), a device to help motorists save fuel and money (Andrew Dunn), and a forensic detection service specialising in retrieving mobile phone and computer evidence (Jeremy Fryd).

Other finalists are specialist mechanic James Sims, website expert Katherine Cory, sports photographer Charlotte Cooke, and artists David Booth and Helen Brown.

The Business Quest finalists have been working to develop their business plan with some of Peter's leading local business contacts including Cooper Parry LLP business advisers, Marketing Derby, design company Origination, Sally Montague Hair Group, professional training expert Matt Elliott and Waterways World Magazines of Burton-on-Trent.

Following this help they will deliver a business 'pitch' to a panel of judges headed by Peter Gadsby at his Derby head office, on Wednesday March 10.

The winner of Business Quest 2010 - and the £20,000 support package - will then be announced at a ceremony at 6pm the same day at Pride Park Stadium.

The Cygnet Fund competition winner will be announced at the same ceremony. They will receive £2,000 to further develop their business idea and it is hoped Cygnet Fund applicants will go on to compete in future Business Quest competitions.

Peter Gadsby said: "There has been a lot of interest in both competitions and I'm greatly looking forward to the way the Business Quest competitors structure their pitches.

"Convincing other people of the value of your business idea is a big part of being a successful entrepreneur.

"On March 10 I will expect them to show the judges the drive, ambition and determination they will need to take their business to the next level, and start making a real contribution to the local economy."

Fiona Church - Dean of the University's Faculty of Business, Computing and Law - added: "Winning the first Business Quest or Cygnet Fund would give any new venture a flying start.

"We are offering something special to our students, which also directly contributes to the local economy and employment opportunities in Derby. We are keen to encourage our talented students to stay in the region and become the next set of business leaders."

For more information about Business Quest and the Cygnet Fund see University of Derby website www.derby.ac.uk/businessquest.

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

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