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26th August 2007


Budding entrepreneurs in the Highlands and Islands now have the chance to turn their business dreams into reality thanks to a 'Dragon's Den'-style competition.

The competition, which is run in partnership with Inverness College UHI, UHI Millennium Institute, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and The Prince's Scottish Youth Business Trust, offers 2000 in cash prizes for winning entries, and all entrants will receive advice on how to take their business idea forward.

Carol Langston, Business and Management Lecturer at Inverness College UHI, said: "We believe there are many people in the Highlands and Islands with interesting and innovative business ideas and we want to encourage them to follow them through. This competition is a friendlier version of the TV entrepreneurship programme, Dragon's Den - candidates don't need to submit a full business plan - all they have to do is fill in an application form with four straightforward questions. Our friendly judges will then draw up a short list of entrants who will be invited to meet the judges.

"This is a great way for future entrepreneurs to get some impartial advice about their ideas, as well as being in with a chance to win a cash prize, which they could use towards getting their business off the ground."

Kerry Godfrey, Dean of Business and Leisure at UHI Millennium Institute, said: "UHI is very interested in developing programmes that will support the growth and development of entrepreneurial talent in the Highlands and Islands. This competition is just the beginning of a larger project that will see the development of learning opportunities designed to inform and enhance the entrepreneurial culture in the region."

Brian Weaver, Business Manager at Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), said: "The Highlands and Islands already have a high number of business start-ups and we want to encourage more. There's a wealth of home grown talent in the HIE area - people with a self belief and passion about their business ideas. We'd encourage these potential entrepreneurs to step into this friendlier version of the Dragon's Den and let their enthusiasm win the day."

David Knight, Regional Manager of the Prince's Scottish Youth Business Trust, said: "Having been involved in last year's pilot, it's great to see the many local entrepreneurs with great ideas who are just waiting for a little nudge of encouragement. PSYBT and the other support agencies are committed to helping the winners take that next step."

The competition is open to anyone from the Highlands and Islands aged 16 or over.

For more information call 01463 273666 or apply online at

All entries must be received by 26 October 2007. The final will be held on 14 November 2007 to coincide with National Enterprise Week.

Back row, left to right: Andrew Denovan, Liam MacAskill and Lindsey Martin
Front row, left to right: Deborah Ross, Charlene Ramage and Carol Langston

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