Entrepreneur Academy Final 2019 at East Surrey College

14 November 2019

East Surrey College hosted another exciting competition final for the 2019 Entrepreneur Academy on Thursday 7 November. The Academy is now in its 7th year, and is run by Reigate & Banstead Borough Council in partnership with East Surrey College.

The project supports local entrepreneurs with a nine-month course at the College, providing the entrepreneurs with an opportunity to gain the essential skills needed to set up a business. This includes business planning, finance, marketing, legal aspects and online business promotion.

This year's nine Academy members presented their business plans to a panel of 'Dragons', made up of Rosemary French OBE (Executive Director, Gatwick Diamond Initiative), Matt Turner (Managing Director, Creative Pod Limited/Director Young Start up Talent) and Brian Woods (Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses).

This year the judges were so impressed with the standard of pitches presented on the day, that the £5,000 investment grant was shared between two candidates. Emilia Hunt, a designer, was grateful to receive investment towards her beautifully produced fabrics and designs for the kitchen, home and garden; and Kelly Smith, founder of Boogie Monsters, who was excited to receive part of the grant towards her rock band and entertainment business for children’s events. There was also a bonus prize this year of £1,000 to Mina Brown, for her business The Village Cakery, which produces quality handmade cakes and bakes.

Kam Dehal, Vice Principal – Business Development (Orbital South Colleges), commented:

“The standard was exceptional, especially in many cases under very personal and challenging circumstances, these business ideas have been brought to life. The College is very proud of the partnership and is looking forward to working with Reigate & Banstead Borough Council in supporting the cohort and new recruits in February 2020.”

Simon Bland, Head of Economic Prosperity for Reigate & Banstead Borough Council also expressed the importance of this event, sharing:

“We are delighted to be able to deliver this initiative in partnership with East Surrey College to help local entrepreneurs. Micro businesses are hugely important to the local economy.  This year’s group has been fantastic in the support they have offered each other, sharing their learning and establishing relationships that will give them the best chance of growth.”

The College extends their gratitude to Reigate & Banstead Borough for leading this event, and to their judges for their participation and support.

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