De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) student Khushboo Raja beat students from across the East Midlands to win a Dragon’s Den-style challenge hosted by leading business advisory and accountancy firm PKF Cooper Parry.Khushboo, a second year Accounting and Finance student at DMU, was up against fellow students and graduates from DMU, Nottingham Trent University and Derby University, as part of a range of activities hosted by PKF Cooper Parry to mark Global Entrepreneurship Week.The hopefuls were asked to pitch their business idea to a panel of experts to win a year’s mentoring package from PKF Cooper Parry, PDW and the LLEP to help make their ideas a reality. The panel of ‘Dragons’ comprised of Kevin Harris, partner; Andrew Timms, partner; Brett Critchley, partner for IT Services at PKF Cooper Parry; Jim Thomas, founder of PDW Training and Corin Crane, director of LLEP, the Leicester and Leicestershire Economic Partnership.The five panellists heard a variety of ideas, from advertising on trucks to a ‘money off’ website. Khushboo impressed the judges with her clear vision and understanding of the market for her product – the production of bespoke invitation cards for weddings and special occasions, targeted principally at the Asian community. Khushboo identified that a large percentage of the Asian population travel to home countries such as India and Pakistan to get their wedding invitations made, as a result of the lack of detail, intricacy and variety presently available in the UK. Her vision is to make these invitations available locally.As well as an aspiring entrepreneur, Khushboo is also a part time web designer for small start-up businesses. She now hopes the 12-month mentoring programme awarded to her will help to improve her business plan and develop knowledge and understanding of general business acumen.RELATED NEWS:* See DMU's Innovation Centre, which offers students start-up support, at the next open day* DMU graduates launch games development company* DMU awarded Silver Charter for its work to help new businessesKhushboo said: “It has always been a dream to start up my own business. The expertise in the professional mentoring, combined with my passion to succeed in my proposal, will undoubtedly open many doors for me in the future!“Being mentored by highly reputable entrepreneur such as Brett Critchley will also give me the chance to experience a wealth of opportunities to work with and learn about businesses in an inclusive environment that fosters creativity, innovation and team spirit.“I believe being selected for such a prestigious opportunity has only strengthened me to have a strong, stable and sky-high future.”PKF Cooper Parry CEO Ade Cheatham said: “We look forward to taking Khushboo under our wing and supporting her through the exciting formative stages of establishing her new business.“It has been a pleasure to play host to such a creative and innovative bunch of budding and established entrepreneurs. We wish all the entrepreneurs that we have met this week the best of luck with their future ventures.”
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