9th March 2006


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Budding entrepreneurs at the University of Lincoln heard at first hand today (Thursday) how to turn their business ideas into reality.


An audience of undergraduates heard two former participants on the BBC programme ‘Dragons’ Den’ talk about their experiences on the show and give insights into starting up a new business.


Dr Paul Thomas, who convinced the BBC panel to invest in his truffle farming business, and Gayle Blanchflower, who since the show has made a success of her  outdoor promotional leisure furniture business, were the guest speakers.


The event marked the launch of ‘Perfect Pitch’, a new project organised by the Lincoln Business School and Sunfish (UK) Ltd in which Lincolnshire businesses offer to invest real money in the best new business ideas pitched by university students.


The Lincoln Business School is believed to be unique in giving undergraduates students the chance to pitch for equity investment to enable them to start a new business for real.


Investors Lindum Group and Nicholsons Chartered Accountants were at the event, which was sponsored by Sparkhouse Studios, to talk to students about their business ideas.


“The launch was a great success in bringing together students with business ideas and the investors who may be able to help them turn their ideas into reality,” said university spokesman Jez Ashberry.


“I’m sure the students learned a lot from our two speakers who come from very different backgrounds and who are running two very different types of business.”


After a rigorous selection process no more than five students will pitch their business ideas to the panel of potential investors at the end of April.


The university is seeking successful, high-profile Lincolnshire businesses who are  approachable, able to give direct advice and mentoring and willing to bring £10k to the table with a view to buying an equity stake in a business that takes their interest.


If your business would like to get involved contact Kevin Blanchard at the Lincoln Business School on 01522 886229 or email kblanchard@lincoln.ac.uk


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Caption: Left to right: Andrew Tomlinson, Chief Executive of Nicholsons Chartered Accountants, Lyn Wakefield of facilitators Sunfish (UK) Ltd, John Cawdell, a Director of Lindum Group, Gayle Blanchflower of OutABox Ltd, Kevin Blanchard from the Lincoln Business School and Dr Paul Thomas from Micorrhizal Systems Ltd



For more information contact:

Jez Ashberry, Press and Media Relations Manager

01522 886042                         jashberry@lincoln.ac.uk