RAU student’s ‘big idea’ pays off her £10,000 investment in her start-ups – FE News

Entrepreneurial RAU student Imogen Burgoyne has won this year’s Royal Agricultural University (RAU) Grand Idea competition and secured a massive £10,000 investment, plus mentorship, for her fledgling businesses from of a panel of prestigious judges.

Imogen, 22, from Haywards Heath in Sussex, is studying for a BSc International Business Management at the RAU and is starting not one, but two businesses – a course that prepares young people for adulthood and a private, walking facility for dogs in Sussex.

On receiving the award, she said, “A big part of my decision to come to the RAU was based on the outstanding support it provides to business and entrepreneurship. I am extremely grateful to have studied here and to have been offered such valuable opportunities as being able to participate in the Big Idea competition.

“I have two exciting businesses. The first is a three-day residential education course, teaching school leavers basic life skills such as cooking, finance, housekeeping and car maintenance, which are currently not really taught in schools. schools.

“The second is a private dog run, equipped with agility equipment, training aids, benches and covered areas, set in three acres of beautiful grass and woods where dog owners can remove their dog without worrying. The location also offers a veterinary practice, a hydrotherapy center and even a cafe!

“I am delighted to have been selected as the winner of this year’s RAU Grand Idea competition and I am really looking forward to using both the mentorship and the generous investment of £10,000 to get my two start-up businesses off to a good start. This is the future!”

The runner-up, who received a £500 investment award in her business, was Camilla Cummins, a postgraduate business management student from RAU Bath. His company – The Cummins Co – produces high quality, sustainable British beef from a herd of Dexter cattle.

Camilla, 23, who runs the business with her father, said:

“With the prize money, we will be able to invest in producing more products to sell to consumers and start building customer loyalty.

“It was a real pleasure to participate in this year’s Big Idea competition and I was confronted with some fantastic entries. The support I received during the application process was invaluable and I am grateful to the Enterprise team for their commitment to helping students bring their ideas to life.

Now in his 15e year, the RAU Grand Idea competition is part of the University’s award-winning program Business and Entrepreneurship Program which provides a supportive environment for students to develop and launch their ideas.

The competition invites RAU students to pitch their business ideas to a panel of experts at a Dragon’s Den-style event. Due to Covid restrictions, last year’s event was held virtually, via Zoom, but this year the judges and contestants were delighted to be able to meet in person at the University’s Cirencester campus. .

This year’s judging panel included Christine Cross, retail consultant and RAU honorary member; Former Dragon’s Den contestant, food entrepreneur and RAU Honorary Member Levi Roots; Dr Lorraine Thomas, RAU Pro Vice Chancellor (Education and Students); Sam Pullin, founder of the Beaufort & Blake clothing brand; and John Pickering, managing director of Miele in Great Britain, Ireland and South Africa.

Jury President Christine Cross said:

“It was a pleasure to return to the Grand Idea competition this year, post-Covid, and with a selection of all-female entrepreneurs. We will strive for more diversity next year!

“The extent to which social purpose and sustainability drive the passion of our entrepreneurs was also evident and the judges were particularly impressed with the quality of the submissions, especially as two of the five finalists were in their first year of first year. cycle, so we look forward to seeing them again.

“RAU’s efforts to support enterprise are a key motivation to attract students, but also to show how smart thinking can give back to society. Congratulations to all the participants, they were all congratulated by the judges.

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