Alumni Collaborations & Visits

Graduates benefit from financial backing in Dragons’ Den scheme

One of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs and long-term university backer Mike Clare has presented cheques for £5,000 and £2,500 to past students  developing their businesses.

Craig McAnuff and brother Shaun McAnuff will use £5,000 funding to develop a cookbook for sale with their business, Caradise Original Flava, which creates easy step-by-step Caribbean food recipe videos online and already has more than 200,000 Facebook followers. Craig graduated in BA (Hons) Graphic Arts.

Anna Crowley, who studied at Bucks New University, will use £2,500 funding to develop an app for people interested in dancing, which will aim to build a social media channel for the dancing community.

Craig, from Croydon, said: “This funding is fantastic and illustrates the University’s support for business and enterprise. The funding will be invaluable in allowing us to continue growing our business.”

The Bucks Dragons’ Den saw people pitch for between £2,000 and £5,000 from a panel comprising Mr Clare; Joseph Valente, winner of The Apprentice 2015; Neil Dymond, Relationship Manager at Barclays’ High Wycombe branch; Alex Pratt, founder of Serious Brands Group, which is based in Buckinghamshire and designs and manufactures reading lights; and Philippa Sawyer, co-founder and programme director of community radio station, Wycombe Sound.

Bucks New University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Rebecca Bunting, joined Mr Clare to present the cheques.

He said: “I am delighted that Caradise Original Flava won this year’s £5,000 first prize.

“With hundreds of thousands of followers on social media and a grandma that can cook the most incredible Caribbean food, these two guys are going places.

“I am also impressed with Anna Crowley and her passion and determination on the dancing/fitness front. She’s certainly got the personality and the moves – another one to watch. It was difficult choosing.

“I am pleased to support the two recipients and look forward to hearing how their businesses and aspirations continue to grow.”

Prof Bunting said: “As an anchor institution in the region Bucks New University is delighted to work as a catalyst helping new business people to thrive and succeed.

“We are a key contributor in the professional communities in which we operate and I look forward to seeing how these two businesses develop.

“Thank you to Mike Clare for his valued continuing support to Bucks New University and for his backing to the hopes and ambitions of our students and graduates.”

Bucks New University’s Careers and Employability Service and Bucks Business School supports students’ and graduates’ entrepreneurial ideas through its ‘Launch Pad’ boardroom and office space and Dragons’ Den-style funding schemes.

Lydiah Igweh, who co-ordinates the support programmes for start-ups at the University, said: “It’s very rewarding when you invest time supporting students and graduates to develop their ideas and you see them progressing right before your eyes.

“I hope they will inspire other students and graduates to get involved and make use of the invaluable support that we offer. We will now work with Anna, Craig and Shaun to create a strategy that makes use of the investment received and to grow their businesses.”

Bucks Dragon’s Den 2017 starts in March. For details see www.enterprisebucks.co.uk/dragonsden, and follow @EnterpriseBucks on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates.

This article originally appeared in the Newsroom section of the university website.

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