Eight entrepreneurial businesses have been awarded grants totalling £10,000 in our Dacorum's Den grant scheme, which is now in its seventh year.
A panel of five judges, headed by Sir Mike Penning MP, heard presentations from a variety of local firms, who were keen to grow their businesses and the local economy.
Sir Mike said: “It was so interesting to see the diversity of bids. We had everything from an off-the-beaten-track travel company to a bespoke paper-cutting designer. Some businesses were awarded more than £1,000 because the investment will make such a dramatic difference to their growth.”
The panel also included June Cory of My Mustard, based in Old Town, Hemel Hempstead; Andy Hepworth, of Hemel Hempstead-based Sopra Steria; the council's Group Manager for Strategic Planning and Regeneration Chris Taylor and Leonie Toal, of Epson (UK).
The £10,000 total grant pot has been provided by sponsorship from local businesses.
The successful businesses were:
- Lydia Berman, 40, of Where to Take Photos, in Kings Langley, who was awarded £1,000 towards a social media campaign and to print the first in a series of tourist travel guides.
- David Kirkland of D-Lab, in Clarence Road, Berkhamsted, who has created a space where creative people can rent desk space and collaborate on projects. Architect David, who has been involved in the Eden Project and Waterloo Terminal projects, will be using his grant to buy top of the range 3D printers.
- Vix Russell, 25, of Artivisual Media, in Berkhamsted, will be using her grant to trademark her logo and to gain a Certificate in Professional Marketing (Digital Marketing).
- Friends Maddi Saunders and Emma Donabie, of Tring, have formed a partnership to grow a bespoke paper cut illustrations business. The business partners were awarded £2,000 to buy a cutting machine and an iPad-based design application.
- Patricia Monney, from Grovehill, in Hemel Hempstead, is introducing the local market to sheabutter, a nut plant from her native Ghana, after its claimed anti-inflammatory properties helped her own daughter recover from an ankle injury. She was awarded £1,000, plus a further £500.
- Anne Nudd was awarded £1,000, plus a further £500, to buy a wax melter to help her grow her bespoke, eco-friendly scented candle making business.
- Halo and Wren bridal boutique, in Old Town, Hemel Hempstead, was set up by Jemma Palmer following her own struggle to buy a modern, non-traditional and relaxed wedding dress for her own big day. Sourcing designers from around the world, Jemma won a £1,000 grant to step up her digital marketing.
- Peru North is run by Miles Buesst from his home in Little Gaddesden. Miles lived in Peru for 11 years and got to know the country as a tour leader. He leads small groups of people on visits to northern Peru, which is opening up to tourism. He was awarded the grant to invest in digital marketing, including pay-per-click advertising and search engine optimisation.
The successful Dacorum’s Den applicants also receive a year’s membership to Hemel Hempstead Business Ambassadors.