Dacorum’s Den 2023 Winners Announced

Dacorum's Den winner group 2023

Ten budding entrepreneurs were awarded up to £2,000 to support their business growth after they pitched their ideas to a team of Dacorum’s Den judges on Friday 6 October, 2023.

The panel of judges, led by The Rt Hon Sir Mike Penning MP awarded a total of £13,500 to grant fund a range of business ideas that included coaching, an independent beer and cider shop, florist, corporate team building and cryotherapy service.

As well as the financial support, the winners will also receive six months free business support coaching provided by a local supplier, Action Coach.

The winner businesses were:

Gemma Rabbini owner of Coach and Bloom, a personal impact and women’s career coach was awarded £2,000 to fund a pilot event in Dacorum. The event will focus on supporting women with their personal impact, brand, mindset, clarity, and career transition so that businesses can reduce employee churn post maternity leave and build diverse senior teams by retaining future female leaders.

Vanessa Hastings owner of Crafty Team Building, an art and craft experience business was awarded £2,000 to fund a new, more corporate-feeling WordPress website and SEO marketing to encourage more enquiries from a global corporate market. The funding is a fantastic growth mechanism for Crafty Team Building as global, online workshops is a growing and profitable channel.

Husband and wife team Tony and Tracey Hosier owners of Hops & Apples Ltd, a local and unique craft beer and cider shop in Hemel Hempstead were awarded £2,000 towards funding branded jute bags and mailing boxes. This will allow them to remove plastic bags and offer customers more sustainable greener take-home packaging and unlock an e-commerce revenue stream.

Natalie Lynn and Beth Roberts co-founders of Little Kits, a Tring-based reusable children’s party kits business were awarded £1,500 to fund a marketing plan to raise awareness in the local area.  This will include an inter-school competition that aims to educate families on the party kit concept, while also incentivizing and rewarding the school and the families that take part and a six-month, geo-targeted social media advertising campaign.

James Charalambous owner of Nugget Golf, a technology start-up set to revolutionise the way golfers practise was awarded £1,000 to help expand the technology infrastructure by adding additional cameras and signs to driving range bays. The additional equipment will enable them to expand to more golf ranges, helping golfers of all skill levels improve their game.

Lauren Sharkey owner of The Good Grower, a natural and sustainable plant nutrition start-up business was awarded £1,000 to procure manufacturing machinery to produce the product in a consumer-facing format ready for launch to market. It will enable them to take an exciting step toward developing the business from tested prototype to saleable product.

Steven Corney owner of The Cryo Hub, a state-of-the-art cryotherapy service was awarded £1,000 towards funding online marketing to build brand awareness and help to educate further on the benefits of this transformative technique. The Cryo Hub aims to transform customer’s lives and wellbeing through the power of the cold by making state-of-the-art cryotherapy available on the Berkhamsted High Street.

Jane and Nick Brand co-founders of Forever Flowers, a new start up funeral flowers rental business was awards £1,000 to fund development of the company website. Their service makes the process of choosing a high-quality floral display, easy, sustainable, and more cost effective by reducing the supply of funeral flowers by approximately 80 per cent.

Anna Hutton-North Director at Sabre Associates, a marketing consultancy specialising in helping companies create smart marketing strategies was awarded £1,000 to build an online demo for Smartest Marketing. The software created by the team allows business owners to create their own marketing strategy quickly and effectively.

Jennie Vallance owner of Someone Brilliant, a curated online platform connecting e-commerce creatives with online retailers was awarded £1,000 to fund social media and content creation training. This will empower Jennie to independently create engaging content to drive her business forward and gain industry visibility.

Sir Mike Penning MP said: ‘Dacorum’s Den is one of the highlights of my year and this year was certainly no exception. The panel were all impressed by the presentations of the entrepreneurs who took up the challenge and I am delighted that we were able to grant so many awards. I often come across previous winners when I am out and about and it is fascinating to see how their businesses have grown and to learn how useful the Dacorum Den’s grant was to them. I look forward to seeing how this year’s winners do in the future. Congratulations to you all!’

Cllr Sheron Wilkie, Portfolio Holder for Place said: ‘I would like to congratulate the ten entrepreneurs who successfully pitched their ideas for this year’s Dacorum’s Den award. I look forward to seeing these innovative and interesting businesses grow year by year with the funding and practical support this award brings. We are committed to supporting small and start-up businesses, which bring a huge positive boost to the local Dacorum business community.’

In its tenth anniversary year Dacorum’s Den has now awarded over £100,000 to 80 local businesses supporting business growth and creating additional jobs in the borough.

The event sponsors formed the panel of judges including Robert Wilson, Head of Property & Facilities at Sopra Steria, David Spratt, Head of Sales Business Systems at Epson (UK) Ltd, Sarah Rutt Director at Beeches Group, and Martin Fieldman, Managing Director at Abodebed.

To find out more about the 2023 Dacorum’s Den winners visit the winners page on the website.

If you are a Dacorum business and would like to get involved with sponsoring this initiative next year, please email the Economic Development Team at Dacorum Borough Council on business@dacorum.gov.uk.

Looking to apply for Dacorum’s Den funding next year? Then, sign up to the Business Update Newsletter to keep updated on the launch of 2024 scheme.