Dragons' Den event rewards social entrepreneurs

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Dragons' Den

Social entrepreneurs from Oxford Brookes were awarded grants at a Dragon’s Den style event held at the university overseen by Olympic gold medallist Katherine Grainger CBE.

The bids amounted to a total of £70,000, with £24,100 awarded. The independent ‘Dragons’, who were all social entrepreneurs and business leaders in their own right, all commented on the high quality of the ideas and presentations – and the tough choices that needed to be made.

Katherine Grainger announced the awards. The biggest were:

The Broken Spoke – awarded £11,900

The Broken Spoke aims to address social inequality, create a healthier environment, and strengthen the culture of cycling in Oxfordshire by teaching people of all backgrounds to become self-sufficient and proficient in bicycle maintenance and riding. The money will help expand the business to give greater sustainability and to secure the assets for the future.

Will McCallum, the company director, commented: "To win feels very overwhelming. I feel we are set up now to expand our business and to offer on-road cycling training to the schools and universities that have approached us, in addition to our existing cycle maintenance courses."

ZumbaBump – awarded £6,000

ZumbaBump is a dance-based exercise class tailored for pregnant women, followed by Bump Club where women discuss lifestyle and pregnancy or childbirth topics and support each other with input from experienced midwives. Funding will mean the project can continue and expand.

REAiD – awarded £4,000

REAiD provides support to dyslexic individuals to improve their ability to read and write in their usual daily tasks with the aid of modern technology. The aim is to develop the prototype, complete a feasibility study and produce a marketing plan.

The Knowledge Project – awarded £2,200

The Knowledge Project will provide affordable evening classes to the general public in Oxford. The classes will be run by trained postgraduate student volunteers from the two universities in Oxford. Class fees will go to the charity Jacari, which provides home tuition to local children who don’t speak English as their first language.

Katherine Grainger commented on the ‘amazing first step’ that all of the participants had taken. She also urged them to persevere to overcome any challenges in achieving their life goals, and to adapt, change and improve.

(The picture shows Will McCallum with Katherine Grainger).