Entering the Lions' Den: teams of young entrepreneurs go before panel of judges

Bournemouth Echo: Entering the Lions' Den: teams of young entrepreneurs go before panel of judges Entering the Lions' Den: teams of young entrepreneurs go before panel of judges

PROMISING young entrepreneurs are to enter the Lions’ Den in the next stage of a Daily Echo-backed charity scheme.

Shore Ideas encourages teams to devise business ideas and split the proceeds 50-50 with good causes.

The event, for ages 13-21, offers successful teams up to £1,000 to get their projects off the ground. It is supported by the Bournemouth 2026 partnership, Bournemouth Borough Council and Bournemouth YMCA.

The shortlisted teams have now been chosen and will present their ideas to a ‘Lions’ Den’ this weekend. The successful ones will benefit from an eight-week business mentoring programme.

Profiles of the lions:

Steve Crawford, 29, created Elite Media to offer bespoke marketing packages to companies including BMW, HNB Salon and SOS Recruitment. He recently set up Chicken Shack Rotisserie in Boscombe, aiming to emulate the success of Nandos and Roosters by providing free-range rotisserie chicken.

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Steve previously devised Live Elite, a website offering deals from highly rated businesses, and launched The Game magazine. He said: “I would have loved to get involved with a competitive project like this when I was at school. I currently work with a few charities through Live Elite and The Game, so I know how appreciative and in need a lot of local good causes are.”

Dan Lodge, a graduate of Brunel University, is a freelance salesman with clients including Live Elite, The Game and Elite Media.

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He said: “Social enterprise is a hot political topic at the moment and I think young people definitely have a lot to contribute in terms of making our communities better places to live and work. They will learn practical business skills from local successful business people. This is an ideal networking opportunity as well as looking great on their CV."

Josh Simons (below centre) left school at 16 to pursue a career as a golfer and played for Britain at amateur level before entering the family business. After moving to Bournemouth aged 20, he launched restaurants and bars with his family and then went on to launch nightclubs locally and internationally, with two venues in Barbados. He has promoted large scale events including Poole’s Beach Polo and concerts at the BIC.

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He has launched several other businesses with business partner Steve Crawford, including Live Elite, Elite Media and Chicken Shack.

He said: “Obviously, an idea without a plan is just a dream. The implementation of an idea, committing to it and making it successful and sustainable is the important bit. I have had multiple successes and multiple losses, with my own money, so I speak from first hand experience. When you lose your own cash, you learn quickly.”

Peter Southcombe, from Southbourne, is chairman of Shore Ideas. He started a career in agriculture before going to Cambridge to study theology. He has been a religious minister for 25 years and established several social enterprises. He established Hope in the Community several years ago, providing seed funding and management.

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He said: “Many of our young people have brilliant ideas and want to make a difference in the world in which they live but lack the knowledge and understanding to battle through bureaucracy and red tape. Shore Ideas is a brilliant way of allowing young people to see their ideas come to life.”

Adrian Gunner (below centre) owns three businesses – a private college, a wedding and conference venue and a fuel briquette manufacturing business.

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“Throughout my career , I’ve had some really terrible jobs , some great jobs and some that have been frustrating. Now that I am lucky enough to run my own companies I like to think I use that experience as ways in which not to run businesses,” he said.

“I spent 20 years or so working for other people and other organisations and I now realise the huge enjoyment there is in working for your own organisation.”

David Frankel, Australian by birth, has been a resident of Bournemouth for 20 years. He has been in the leisure and entertainment industry for 18 years and has experience in big-budget worldwide touring productions.

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He said: “My experience includes entertainment production, promotion and merchandising; facilities marketing; television production; tourism and hospitality.

He built up a portfolio of rental properties which he manages, giving him more time to spend with his six children.

Tara Howard was brought up at Bournemouth’s Langtry Manor Hotel. She left to work in London and travel the world, becoming a commercial pilot and flight instructor while helping produce opera in Toronto and New York.

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She was teaching flying in Boston when she was asked to come home and help run the family business.

She said: “Young people are the future and with the mentoring and nurturing this wonderful project brings then the outcomes are likely to be a group of confident, capable and experienced individuals.”

Martin Stockley, 44, served in the Royal Army Pay Corps and worked for a Bournemouth estate agency before returning to education and gaining experience in marketing, business, finance and leisure market.

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He works with Bournemouth YMCA and the Junction Sports and Leisure Centre.

He said: “I love the energy, excitement and above all passion in the work an individual or team gets stuck into. This has to be backed up with down to earth research, focus on finer details etc but there is no rule saying we can’t have a little fun on the journey.”

Andrew Glatter is director of marketing strategy at Bournemouth and Poole College.

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He said: “I’m a marketing person through and through. I’ve spent my working life with large businesses helping them to meet the needs of their customers. It’s a great job, identifying the latest trends and working out how to gain competitive advantage,” he said.

“If you think you have a good idea or spotted something that you think can make a difference then put yourself forward.”

Medi Vahdati studied artificial intelligence and computing and built a range of successful businesses in London, including a supermarket, car showroom, estate agency and a portfolio built with stock market experience. He lost everything with the break-up of his marriage, became homeless and spent time with the YMCA before building up his new businesses – Tiien Thai Restaurant and Indian Ocean.

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He said: “The challenges I have overcome during my career will demonstrate that with the right ideas and determination a profitable business can be created from scratch.”

Amanda Goodenough, of Bournemouth Churches Housing Association settled in North Dorset in 2008 and has a small holding, keeping rare breed pigs for breeding and meat, as well as goats and chickens.

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She said: “As head of children, young people and families for BCHA my role is to create services that enable young people to find a way forward and reach their potential.

“I have secured new business within my department by £11 million in the last six years of my role and recognise the need for effective partnerships and collaboration.”

Comments (1)

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2:25pm Sat 7 Dec 13

Bournefre says...

I wonder where they got the idea from...
I wonder where they got the idea from... Bournefre

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