Dacorum’s Den competition winners are ‘inspirational’ businesses in the borough

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Dacorum is buzzing with entrepreneurs if the 12 winners of a cash-for-growth initiative are anything to go by.

A diverse range of ideas, including a cafe to help people with learning disabilities and the development of iPhone solutions for iTunes, have been selected to receive grants of up to £1,000.

The scheme was originally developed as a quick and easy way to encourage firms to grow. Grants are aimed at developing or test trading a new product or service or expanding into a new market.

Judge Rebecca Oblein is impressed with the results. She said: “It was inspirational to hear from so many new businesses as entrepreneurship and innovation are key drivers for Dacorum’s economy.”

Dacorum’s Den is in its second year and involved 10 small firms and five social enterprises pitching their business ideas to the panel of judges in the style of TV’s Dragon’s Den on July 12. Social enterprises are businesses with a stated social goal, set up in their own right. They have been specifically recognised in this year’s event.

Dacorum’s Den involves Dacorum Borough Council working with the Maylands Partnership, whose chairman, Andy Cook of FFEI Limited, is another of the judges.

The others who heard the business pitches were Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning and Mark Mitchell of Community Action Dacorum.

The winning businesses are: Stepping Stone Café, Green Light Mediation, Grand Union Community Energy Ltd, Tring Ice Cream Company, The Counselling Service, Divine Trees, Cake Stories by Lauren, Skin Therapy, The Rockin’ Lock-In, Sunnyside Rural Trust, Watts Hassan Associates Ltd and Time to Change.

A presentation day is being held Maylands Business Centre, from noon to 2pm on Monday, October 4.