We Have Our Winners!

Jul 25, 2016

Seven entrepreneurs have been awarded business boosting grants of up to £2,500 from the Dacorum’s Den panel of judges.

An exciting day of judging at Maylands Business Centre in Hemel Hempstead on Friday, July 8, saw the panel divide up £10,000 to ideas that included historical costumed tours around the old town and a new cake business opening in Tring.

As well as the cash booster, the winners receive one year’s free membership to Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, membership of the Hemel Hempstead Business Ambassadors, membership of Connect Dacorum, credit with DeskLodge and, for those eligible, membership to the Tourism Partnership.

Spirit of the Old Town

The winning business ideas were:

Kimberly Woodcock, 37, has been awarded £2,500 for Spirit of the Old Town, which organises historical walks/plays in the old town area of Hemel Hempstead. She is a self-employed actor, who lives in Hemel Hempstead and calls on a team of 11 actors who play characters from the town’s history on the walks. Her character is Isabella Harrington, landlady of The Royal Oak pub, who ran the inn on her own with her 14 year-old daughter. She made her presentation to the judges in costume with Matt Hatton, in full Henry VIII costume and Mark Crane, playing Joseph Cranstone junior.

Sherry Hostler, 44, of Sherry Hostler Cake Artistry, formerly the Cake House, has been awarded £2,500 to buy equipment for her bespoke cake design business in Tring. Sherry, who started her business from home in 2008, creates celebration cakes for special events, sometimes taking 20 hours to build scenes and characters.

Former nursery nurse Gemma Bailey, 37, was awarded £1,000 to help her make changes to the People Building, in Queensway, Hemel Hempstead, so the adult training and self-development business can expand its services.

Sophie Rigby, 29 and Katy Whiteside, 32, of Pitch Events in old town, Hemel Hempstead, have been awarded £1,000 to develop a full website and buy promotional materials for their new events company. They are planning a series of street food festivals across Dacorum, including one in old town on September 17 to include local food, local ales and local buskers.

Employment law solicitor Peggy Barnard, 31, has been awarded £1,000 for marketing support for her new practice, Barnard & Co Employment Law Solutions, based at the Maylands Business Centre, in Hemel Hempstead.

Giorgio Celestre, 39, a Brazilian national who came to the UK in 2006, has been awarded £1,000 to build a “proper website” for the Golden Bites café at Maylands Business Centre, in Redbourn Road, Hemel Hempstead. Giorgio has a 20 year career in catering, including at Walt Disney World in the US, on cruise ships and at Harrods and is planning to employ more people.

Mari Thomas, 26, of Berkhamsted, received £1,000 to develop a sports apparel brand.

The panel of judges was headed by Hemel Hempstead MP, Mike Penning who praised Dacorum’s Den as a “great initiative”.

The judging panel on the day also included: Andy Cook, the chief executive of FFEI who also chairs the Maylands Partnership and Jean McLeish, who chairs Hemel Hempstead Business Ambassadors as well as being head of vertical marketing at Sopra Steria.

New judge Martin Fieldman, who is also the chairman of Dacorum Tourism Partnership and managing director of Abode Bed & Continental, said: “It was refreshing to see exciting products, from people who have clearly identified gaps in the market.”

Dacorum’s Den is also sponsored by Ambi Singh, managing director of Lumiere Developments and Alan Butchers, McDonald’s franchisee in Hemel Hempstead.

Any business interested in Dacorum’s Den 2017 should contact Louis Devayya on 01442 867808 or louis.devayya@dacorum.gov.uk. Visit the website www.dacorumlooknofurther.co.uk/dacorums-den for further info.