Aspiring entrepreneurs from Leeds Trinity University have taken part in a Dragons’ Den style Business Start-up Competition.
Students at the University submitted business plans before pitching their ideas to a panel of Leeds Trinity alumni who have set up successful businesses, which included Rich Hayden, Director at Rejuvenate Productions; Patricia Miller from afternoon tea catering company MillerSucré; and Sadiya Salim from Pretty Little Scarves.
Forensic Psychology student Laura Edmonds, 34, was awarded first place in the annual event, receiving £500 for her business, Building Memories, a series of children’s books tackling subjects such as disability, sexuality and death.
Laura, who lives in Bradford, started writing the series six years ago whilst working in the NHS as part of a Children’s Palliative Care team to help children to cope in these situations and to show how resilient they are.
She said: “I am honoured and humbled to win the award, and can’t believe they picked me because there were some really fabulous people there. The money will be used to help with the relaunch of the full series of books. All of the 135 books in the series are being redesigned, re-illustrated, edited and printed.”
Second place of £250 was awarded to Cailum Earley for his skin care business Hokey Coconut, and third place of £125 was awarded to Laila Charlesworth for her nutrition business Laila Charlesworth Nutrition. Media student Zahra Majid won the Social Enterprise award of £200 for VI Advisor; an online hub of information on products, services and venues for the visually impaired.
As well as submitting business plans and pitching, the contestants also took part in a short question and answer session, before the judges selected a winner.
Phil Williams, Business Start-up Advisor at Leeds Trinity University, said: “Congratulations to Laura on being awarded first prize. The judges were impressed by Laura’s inspirational story and the impact that the books can have within schools across the UK.
“The Business Start-up Competition is a fantastic event for Leeds Trinity students to develop and pitch their business ideas to successful business alumni who will then support them to achieve their business goals. The standard of entries was very high, and it was great to see such a range of ideas and creativity.”