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Theo Paphitis, Chancellor of Solent University, and TV ‘dragon’ has helped launch 'The Business Pitch’ a new Dragon’s Den style competition for business-minded students and alumni of Solent University

12th November 2021
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Theo Paphitis, Chancellor of Solent University, Southampton, and TV ‘dragon’ has helped launch 'The Business Pitch’ a new Dragon’s Den style competition for business-minded students and alumni of Solent University. The winner will receive a £10k investment to put into their business venture.


Watch some highlights of the event below.

Hosted by Theo Paphitis and Solent Vice-Chancellor Professor Karen Stanton on Thursday 11 November, the event kicked off the competition which invites entrepreneurial Solent students and alumni (who graduated from 2015 onwards) to develop a scalable, innovative idea. Those who go through to reach the final pitching process will face Theo and a panel of regional business leaders next summer 2022.

Theo Paphitis said: “The launch today had an incredible turn out from our students and alumni. I look forward to seeing the fantastic final pitches next year, as Solent shows the business world what they’re made of!”

Theo Paphitis launching the competition to students

When submitting their business plans, candidates will be asked to demonstrate the environmental, economic and social sustainability impact of their business for the UK Economy the city of Southampton and Central South region.

Director of The Solent Business School, Caroline Walsh says: “At Solent University, we thrive on seeing start-ups grow into successful businesses, and are continuously committed to supporting student success and business growth at every stage of the process.

“The competition we have launched today, inviting students and alumni with forward looking talents to pitch their ideas to kick start or accelerate their business, is a fantastic opportunity to showcase key skills and take their businesses to the next level, joining a long list of alumni who have had managerial and entrepreneurial success.”

Director of Solent Business School, Caroline Walsh with Theo Paphitis and Vice-Chancellor Karen Stanton

Solent University has an enviable record of supporting start-ups with businesses such as OTB Vendors, a company that has designed and manufactured the world’s first truly self-service automated bars for events and venues, and Wingman Nights, a nightlife app, both of which are seeing growth within their industries.

This investment opportunity is part of the key activity the University carries out in supporting successful business ventures - just one of the reasons why Solent University Southampton was recently ranked 3rd in the country for graduate start-ups (HE-BCI 2021).

The project will run from November 2021 to June 2022, culminating in a live pitch to a panel of business leaders and Theo Paphitis, on June 29th 2022. The successful candidate(s) will be awarded up to £10,000 to develop or progress their business idea. The competition is open to individuals and groups, where at least one member is a Solent University student or alumni who graduated since 2015 and where the proposal can demonstrate how the business will have a positive impact on the UK economy and ideally show real benefit for Southampton City and our Central South region.