SALISBURY’S up-and-coming business owners were put through their paces by a panel of self-made professionals in the city’s inaugural Dragons’ Den event on Thursday night.

Organised by Salisbury and District Young Chamber, the event saw ambitious business owners from a range of industries go up before a panel of Salisbury Dragons to pitch their ideas and seek investment.

A packed-out White Hart Hotel witnessed laughter and tears from the pitchers, and negotiations from the Dragons, before a few potentially life-changing offers were made.

The event was compered by Alex Taylor, owner of Girls Love Fit and Kidz Love Fit, and included a special video message from ‘real’ Dragon NIck Jenkins, founder of Moonpig cards, who starred on the BBC hit from 2015 to 2017.

The self-made Salisbury Dragons were:

  • Simon Allenby, owner of Clifford Fry and Co chartered accountants
  • Robin Trevett, owner of Trevett Group
  • Gavin Barratt, owner of Barrakav Properties
  • Molly Fisher, owner of Landford Stone
  • Hugh Mullens, in the capacity of angel investor

The Young Chamber hopes to bring the event back bigger and better for 2019.

One pitcher did not wish to be identified as he awaits patents on his business idea.

The pitchers were:

Boozy Bakes - Keta Hunt

Keta Hunt started Boozy Bakes while at university, combining students' love for alcohol and sweet treats.

She now works creating bespoke alcohol-infused cakes and 'cuptails', holds classes for hen parties and corporate events and travels to food festivals.

Keta wanted £10,000 from the Dragons, in return for 20 per cent of her business, which she wanted to use to buy a vehicle to take the business mobile, hoping to open a cafe-bar in the future.

But the Dragons advised her to focus on one of these goals and reassess her costs, and did not make Keta an offer.

Musikind - Arash Bazrafshan

Inspired by his own family's experiences with dementia, trained music therapist Arash Bazrafshan created Musikind, an app to be used by carers in homes across the country for targeted therapy.

The Dragons were very interested in Arash's idea, and he received offers from four out of five of the panel.

Arash wanted £13,000 for 7.5 per cent of the business, but received several offers for much higher stakes (of up to 50 per cent). Despite negotiations taking place, Arash decided he did not want to give up too much equity, and declined all offers to go it alone with his business.

POPScards - Charlie Henry

Charlie Henry, 18, created POPScards as part of an enterprise project for autistic teenagers. He sells his selection of 3D pop-up cards at small events and online, and wanted an investment of £10,000 for 10 per cent of the business, although his main request was for business mentoring.

But the Dragons didn't get a chance to bid, as Charlie was quick to accept Gavin Barrett (who offered before the pitching had even finished!) Gavin did not want a share but said he would pay the cost of Charlie's pitches at future events and buy 100 cards' worth of stock to help him get started.

Happy Confident Kids - Nikki Emerton and Laura Dumbleton-Jones

Nikki and Laura set up Happy Confident Kids to tackle the growing problem of anxiety among children, particularly at primary school.

Through dedicated therapy and play sessions, they give children the tools to manage their own anxiety and become resilient adults.

The pair wanted £30,000 for 12.5 per cent of the company, to set up training courses, allowing the course to be delivered across the UK.

The Dragons were impressed, but made no offers. Since the event, Nikki and Laura have secured a slot at another school.

Jumparoo's Fun House - Chris Garrett

Established Salisbury business owner Chris Garrett is best known for his mobile inflatable company, Jumparoo.

Now Chris wants to expand, creating an indoor inflatable experience known as Jumparoo's Fun House. He asked for £40,000, to go towards the cost of a warehouse and equipment, in return for 20 per cent of the new business.

But the Dragons were concerned that Chris wasn't linking the fun house to the original Jumparoo business, and thought he needed to re-evaluate costs, making no offer. Chris is now exploring linking the two companies.