Last week we hosted our first very own Dragon’s Den, based on the hit BBC 2 programme. The idea first came to fruition when Michael Fullerton suggested doing something to promote small businesses and personal start ups within CMG. The idea took off from there! I have always felt very strongly about the importance of supporting and encouraging people into employment. Not only so they can earn money for themselves but also to increase their independence and confidence. We advertised this event all across the organisation calling for anyone who had a passion that could be turned into a business or an entrepreneurial opportunity.
Michael Fullerton (Clinical director), Andrew Wasley (employment officer) Simon Tobin (person we support and trainer) and I made up the judging panel. Each person had 30 minutes to present their ideas to the panel and suggest an amount they would like the dragon’s to invest.
I am so impressed with all of the candidates. Each proposal was well thought through, with clear market strategies and a plan of what funding and other support they wanted from CMG. A key strength with each proposal was the obvious talents of each person. This demonstrates that with creative support, people can maximise use of their natural skills and interests to benefit themselves and their communities. For the majority of the population it is quite a daunting thing to stand up and give a presentation to a panel of judges, let alone ask for financial support. Imagine all of this with the added difficulty of a learning disability.
Each candidate was successful and was offered a monetary sum, and help with marketing and advertising. The candidates that had products to sell have all been offered their own stall at The People’s Conference (26th July).
Once a month for the next year Andrew Wasley will be getting updates from the candidates and their home managers to report back how their businesses are going, and to offer any additional support.
The day was such a success it now has been firmly placed into the CMG events calendar. I’m excited to see what next year will bring.
“The six people, who stepped forward with a wide range of exciting enterprises and opportunities did not disappoint. I look forward to seeing how each enterprise evolves” Michael Fullerton
Please see below for pictures from the day: