Consultancy pitch wins the top prize for entrepreneurial students

Students are celebrating after their idea to open a consultancy helping immigrant entrepreneurs launch their own businesses won this year’s Fox’s Lair.


Business Bridge – comprised of first years Freddie Horner (Business and Management) Connor White (International Business), Ashley Sutton (International Business) and Romuald Pikuza (Business and Marketing) – won £1,000 and a mentoring package after taking the top spot in the competition.

Now in its 11th year, Fox’s Lair ™  is the only accredited module of its kind run by any UK university. Every year, dozens of real-life entrepreneurs from a huge range of sectors and industries volunteer their time to come to De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) to hear pitches from first-year students and mark the module.

Business Bridge’s pitch impressed the judges with their well thought out business plan, research which included a survey of Leicester businesses and professional presentation.

The students are so enthusiastic about the business idea they are now looking into making it a reality.

Freddie said: “We really didn’t expect to have done so well, we are absolutely thrilled to have won. 
 We wanted to be able to create a business which helps people, and we know that Leicester has lots of start-ups so we thought we would start in the city, and then roll it out across the country.”

“It’s the hardest thing we have ever done at DMU but it’s been the most fun,” added Ashley.

Connor said: “We did lots of research. We looked at how many UK-based entrepreneurs started businesses compared to how many people from other countries and found that immigrants were more likely to start businesses but that there was not the level of help and support tailored to them.”

“We had such positive comments from the team of judges,” added Romuald, who is from Lithuania. “The Fox’s Lair has been a great experience for all of us.”

Phil Bateman, of Lloyds TSB said: “One of the great things about this process is the benefit of a commercial expertise which we can bring to the Lair, and the ideas this year were superb.”

This year was the highest-scoring event in the history of Fox’s Lair – a fitting tribute to lecturer Edwina Goodwin, who came up with the idea. She is retiring this summer and former students and staff paid tribute to her at the awards night.

She was presented with a bouquet and a book of memories collated by former students including Christopha Gordon, now a web developer in London. He told her: “You have been an inspiration to me since my time at DMU.”

* Dare you enter the Fox's Lair?
* Primary school children make the perfect pitch to DMU's Foxes
* Read how the Fox's Lair helped prepare one student for a glittering career

Another judge, Ian Elliot, who is a director of Nicholls Colton engineers, said: “Congratulations to Business Bridge, for their unique proposal and this year was particularly competitive with several outstanding presentations.”

Runners-up were sugar-free cafe San Sucre, headphones company Binary Waves, Night in a Box, which provided the perfect kit for a night in and personal pasta, a takeaway service.
Business Bridge also win mentoring package donated by Fox’s Lair judge Lee Howitt, at Checkpoint.

Edwina told the students: “Taking part in Fox’s Lair has probably stretched you outside your comfort zone but that is good.

“Remember it for the experience and know that you have really achieved something. This will help you stand out to future employers.”
Posted on Wednesday 25th May 2016

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