A budding Mansfield entrepreneur is celebrating after winning a Dragon’s Den for his smoking hot business idea.
Dean Hikin beat of stiff opposition to win the competition hosted by the Linney Group and facilitated by Nottinghamshire Community Foundation, which offers financial help and advice from business chief ‘Dragons’.
Dean has set up a new company Fruits of Sherwood making biowood fuel products for retail and trade customers and is seeing high demand for his special charcoal for restaurants and butchers for their smoked products.
It was chosen as the best new business idea from a shortlist list of eight budding entrepreneurs at the Dragon’s Den presentations on Monday.
Several dragons have offered their support to his idea, alongside a grant to help him buy additional equipment.
Nine shortlisted entrepreneurs, whose business ideas were chosen from the Mansfield and Ashfield applications, were given a 10 minute pitch in front of a prestigious group of local Dragons.
Guest ’Dragons’included Graham Cartledge, High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire, John Radford of Mansfield Town Football Club, Irvin Robinson, Mansfield Business Centre/Mansfield 2020;
Peter Gadsby, Ark Capital; Rob Atkinson, Uni-2 / Caterway; Chris Lightbody, Longbow Venture Capital; Nick Linney, The Linney Group; Nina Dauban, Nottinghamshire Community Foundation; together with an invited guest, Judy Naake.
The best business ideas were given a small grant to support their developments and all shortlisted applicants had have access to further investment, advice and mentoring from the local Dragons.
The High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire Graham Cartledge CBE DL and the Mayor of Mansfield Tony Eggington presented Dean with a cheque.
Graham Cartledge CBE DL, The High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire and Chairman of Benoy, said: “I was delighted with the calibre of business entries and all the dragons have offered some advice and mentoring to six of the eight entries.
“It is important we pull together to help new business growth in our communities, and it is heart-warming to see very busy and successful people offer their time and skills to these new starters.”
Tony Eggington, Mayor of Mansfield added: “I am pleased to see the sixth Dragons Den come to North Nottinghamshire as we know Mansfield and Ashfield can benefit from the many successful businesses men and women helping new to support new enterprise.”.
The next Dragons Den will be advertised in 2015 on www.nottscf.org.uk