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Durham University News


Students go head-to-head against the Dragons

(13 March 2012)

The final of the Durham Business School Dragons’ Den Competition 2012, sponsored by E-On, took place on 08 March.

Six teams, drawn from an original field of 20 entrants, went head-to-head with the winning pitch being that from Helen McKinney for her niche business idea Funerals Online.

The 'Dragons' for the occasion were Clair Cutler (from E-On’s innovation centre, ‘Ignite’), Dr Richard Leaver (CEO of Blue Star Capital plc, London) and (Adrian Simpson, Principal, Josephine Butler College and organiser of Colleges DD competition).

The six teams in contention were:

  • Helen McKinney – Funerals Online
  • Yevgeniya Ni, Daniel Schelling-Tisza – I Want It, Too!
  • Ali Ansari, KK Lim – Energy Solutions (joint runner-up)
  • Steve Crompton, Preetpal Ahluwalia – Ratemygarage
  • Hugo Sunnucks – White Bear Motorcycles (joint runner-up
  • Christopher Obereder, Adam Bender – Bender Marine

Helen McKinney’s winning business idea identified a niche developing an online funeral planning service, initially in and around her home town of Owensville, Kentucky.  Hugo Sunnucks, who shared second spot, is developing a business based around installing electric power systems in motorbikes.  Joint second were Ali Ansari and KK Lim, who are engaged in a social enterprise installing solar energy systems in areas of rural Pakistan. 

The Grand Finale of the competition takes place in June, when the DBS finalists meet the winners of the Colleges Dragons’ Den competition – we wish them well!

If you would like more information please contact the dragons’ Den competition organiser Professor Ian Stone, the Dragon’s Den organiser

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