Students Scoop £15,000 in QUB’s Dragons’ Den Competition

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Queen’s University Belfast’s Dragons’ Den, sponsored by Engineers in Business Fellowship, the MCS Group, CavanaghKelly, Tughans Solicitors came to an electrifying end again this year with 13 competitors braving the Den to pitch their business ideas to a panel of experts.

With a prize pot totalling £15,000, competition was fierce. Over 120 students applied, with 13 finalists selected to pitch their ideas to this year’s Dragons.

Lewis Loane, A 2nd Year Electrical & Electronic Engineering student was the overall winner of the competition for his ‘Signal Optimser’ innovation and was awarded £6,000, £3,000 of which was provided by EIBF. Lewis said, “The Dragons’ Den experience is an excellent opportunity for any student entrepreneur. Meeting other students with great business ideas and enthusiasm was a key highlight of the experience. The support given by Enterprise SU was exemplarily, their knowledge and guidance transformed my approach to business. The expert Dragons were encouraging and engaging and have already opened doors to new business opportunities for my Signal Optimiser.’ Lewis is using his cash prize to develop Signal Optimiser and is currently dealing with IP matters. 

The competition is one of many initiatives organised by Enterprise SU, the entrepreneurial arm of Queen’s Students’ Union, helping students develop enterprise skills and start their own businesses. 

The Dragons’ Den Judges were John McKee (Linkubator); Catherine Martin (CavanaghKelly); Andrew Kirke (Tughans Solicitors); Eleanor McEvoy (Entrepreneurship Ambassador for Northern Ireland); David Moore (QUBIS) and Kirsty Dillon (MCS Group).

The final decision proved a tough one with the Dragons choosing to split the £15,000 investment amongst four finalists: Agile Roto (Jonathan Adams), WriteEasy (Michael Upham), Stand (Ben Lindsay, Emma McQuiggan, Jessica Wilson, George Morris) and Amp Signal Optimiser.

Louise Smyth of the MCS Group said, “The QUB Dragons Den programme gives emerging entrepreneurs a platform to pitch their ideas and showcase some amazing innovations, not just to businesses but potential investors. I have been extremely impressed by the team at Queens, the quality of coaching and mentoring the students are exposed to throughout the programme is evident throughout the process.’’ 

Catherine Martin from CavanaghKelly said, “The standard of business ideas and quality of the pitches exceeded all of my expectations. The amount of talent on show in the Den was a credit to the students, Enterprise SU and all those who have worked with the students in preparation of the event. The future of the NI economy is definitely bright if we can continue to foster such talented, entrepreneurial students.’’

Published courtesy of Queen’s University Belfast