Dacorum’s Dens judges awards entrepreneurs £10,000 worth of grants

Dog groomers, cake makers and a children’s theatre company part of the businesses awarded money from Dacorum Borough Council

Monday, 25th July 2022, 12:47 pm
Updated Tuesday, 2nd August 2022, 10:31 am

Businesses have been given a huge boost from Dacorum Borough Council (DBC) after they pitched their ideas to a panel earlier this month.

The Dacorum's Den panel, led by the Rt Hon Sir Mike Penning MP, divided a £10,000 grant fund between local business ideas on July 15.

The winners, which included a chocolate-making business, received funding and will get one year’s free membership to the Hemel Hempstead Business Ambassadors and six months of free business support coaching provided by ActionCOACH.

Dacorum's Den winners with their grant cheques.

Sir Mike Penning MP praised Dacorum’s Den as a great initiative to help local businesses grow.

He said: "There were some excellent pitch presentations from a wide mix of different business sectors and we look forward to seeing these businesses grow with the injection of finance plus the coaching and membership package.”

Lucy Baker, owner of Shaggy & Chic dog groomers in Apsley, was awarded £2,500 to purchase a new hydro-bath.

The judges were said to be so impressed with Lucy’s passion for dogs and her business that they awarded the amount required to fully fund the equipment she requires.

Stewart Hunt, owner of Apex in the Community, Hertfordshire CIC, was awarded £2,000 to fully fund a shipping container classroom facility and community garden.

The judges were impressed by Stewart’s enthusiasm and commitment to providing community sports clubs and activities for schools via the community interest company he has set up.

Babette Smith, the owner of The Magical Story Elves, was awarded £1,500 to produce a showreel to promote her children’s entertainment company.

Babette and her team sang and performed their pitch presentation in full costume and accompanied by a giant animated dinosaur. The judges liked the different presentation style and were impressed with the educational element of the business.

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Jessica Thatcher, the owner of ZV Textiles, received £1,500 for advertising and marketing for her B2B textile manufacturing business in the equestrian and country clothing sector.

Husband and wife team Jan and Sarah Sisson, owners of Sunsible LLP, were awarded £1,000 to fund a new drone for their solar advice and maintenance business.

This drone will allow them to capture roof-level images for inspecting solar and other renewables systems.

Natasha Collins, the owner of Nevie-Pie Cakes, received £500 to fund an edible printer so she can create her own edible printed images on specialised icing sheets to decorate and personalise cakes.

Anne Barnes and Caroline Scott, joint partners in Chocwork, a new start-up business offering chocolate-making workshops for adults and children, received £500 for another melting pot.

A second husband and wife team, Rupal and Kamal Panchal, who own Kiki and Green, received £500 for marketing investment in their environmentally friendly sanitary products business.

The scheme is the local version of the popular TV series Dragon's Den which helps small businesses develop and grow.

The judges included Martin Fieldman, managing director at Abodebed, Andrew Hepworth, managing director at Sopra Steria and David Spratt, head of sales business systems at Epson (UK) Ltd.