The four finalists who will enter the Dragons’ Glen in a bid to win £8,500 worth of support for their business idea have been announced by the organisers of the Lochaber entrepreneurship competition.
They are Marina MacLeod, of Fort William’s Marina’s Bridal boutique, the Highland Mountain Culture Association, which runs the annual mountain festival, Stoked to Coach, a mountain biking guiding and coaching business run by Mark Clark, and Three Wise Monkeys Climbing, run by Oliver Millington who is turning Fort William’s MacIntosh Memorial Church into an indoor climbing sports centre.
This is the second year the competition – inspired by the popular TV show Dragons’ Den – has been held by Lochaber Chamber of Commerce and the team behind Lochaber Ideas Week, which runs from November 17-21.
Ideas Week coordinator, Will Rowland, said the finalists were selected from 11 entries from businesses that applied to enter the Dragons’ Glen.
He said: “All the businesses were viable business concepts. It is really great to have such a positive outcome.”
And the four finalists will make their pitch to an expert panel at the Moorings Hotel in Banavie on Wednesday November 19 between 3pm and 5pm.
The 2014 panel of Dragons include west coast fisherman Finlay Finlayson, who owns the world-class Underwater Centre in Fort William and Tasmania. He also operates Crannog Cruises and owns Crannog Restaurant.
Other judges are Alasdair Ferguson, of Spean Bridge-based Ferguson Transport, Anja Baak, of Roy Bridge-based Great Glen Charcuterie, and businessman Angus MacDonald, who grew up in Glencoe and has strong family connections to Lochaber.
The panel will listen carefully to the business ideas, ask probing questions and pick a winner to receive £1,000 worth of web design, support and hosting from Lamont Design, one-year membership with Lochaber Chamber of Commerce and a £7,500 cash prize, awarded by local charity the West Coast Communities Growth Trust.
Other events during Ideas Week include “Around Lochaber in 80 Tables” at the Alexandra Hotel in Fort William on Monday November 17 from 12noon to 5pm and Lochaber Question Time at the West Highland College on Wednesday November 19 from 7pm to 9pm.