Ten investors, £100,000 and a million opportunities

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TEN local business champions have teamed up with Causeway Enterprise Agency, to create a £100,000 pot of gold to develop “Venture Causeway” an exciting new venture capital competition sponsored by Coleraine Borough Council and the University of Ulster with the core aim of sparking innovation and job creation in the Coleraine area.

The cash will power the Venture Causeway competition, developed to inspire, encourage and support entrepreneurship in Coleraine, and will help grow the local economy as well as create employment opportunities in the Coleraine area.

The Champions are looking for feasible business propositions with growth potential and with a financial need where funding and mentoring can make all the difference to the success of the idea.

The competition is open to both existing and new businesses and is open to all sectors and sizes of businesses and start-ups with the only condition being that all applicants’ businesses must be located in the Coleraine Borough.

If a new business is to be created, the applicant must agree set their new business up within the borough.

Jayne Taggart, Chief Executive of Causeway Enterprise Agency, the driving force behind the initiative commented: “We are really excited about this initiative which is all about encouraging and nurturing business start activity and business growth in the borough of Coleraine.

“We work at the coalface with start-ups and existing businesses and know how challenging it can be to get support and finance. To bring these 10 Champions together to create this pot of funding to help make business dreams a reality is going to be wonderful.”

To enter the competition, all budding entrepreneurs need do is complete and return their application form. If shortlisted, they will be invited to pitch their business idea to the Champions in a Dragons’ Den style setting at Causeway Enterprise Agency

Norman Lynas, Chairman of Lynas Food Group, and spokesperson for the champions said: “We want to help people who are on the first step of the business ladder. People like me, who have been fortunate in business, have a responsibility to do what we can to help budding entrepreneurs achieve their business dreams.”

“We need people with big dreams, big ideas to get involved in this competition, and we want to give them a chance, that helping hand that will get their businesses on their feet. It’s our hope that in a few year’s time there will be many new, successful businesses in this area that we have been able to help take their first steps to success.”

Professor Deirdre Heenan, Provost of the University of Ulster’s Coleraine campus, said: “The University of Ulster has a long history of innovation and entrepreneurship, and we feel that this competition is a unique and exciting venture that will allow fledgling businesses to get access to a new source of capital funding that they might not otherwise reach.”

“We’re hoping that this scheme could be a prototype for something that could work across all our four campuses.”

The Venture Causeway launch takes place in Flowerfield Arts Centre Portstewart at 12 noon this Wednesday. The project is supported by Coleraine Borough Council and the University of Ulster.

VENTURE CAUSEWAY

The key dates:

If you’d like to apply then please make note of the following important dates:

* Venture Causeway launches at Flowerfield Arts Centre, Portstewart, at 12 noon on Wednesday, May 8. Competition opens for entries.

* Closing date for entries, Wednesday, May 29 at 5pm.

* Finalists will notified by Friday, June 28.

* Pitch Perfect Workshops will take place in early September.

* Pitch Events will take place in late September.

If selected as a finalist in the competition you will be required to make a five minute pitch to the Causeway Champions followed by a question and answer session with the Champions.