Dragon lands in Sheffield to light up creative start-ups

Business Dragon Doug Richard
Business Dragon Doug Richard
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He shot to fame as a tough-talking Dragon in the Den on the hit TV series.

Now serial entrepreneur and business angel Doug Richard is coming to Sheffield – not to breathe fire and brimstone, but to give wings to aspiring entrepreneurs across the North.

Business Dragon Doug Richard

Business Dragon Doug Richard

The celebrity tycoon is launching a new course in the city which aims to help budding startups turn their creative talents into a business.

The School For Creative Startups opens at The Sheffield College in October 2014 and will be the first such venture between a further education college and an external partner. Nine months of part-time study, costing £3,500, aims to equip creatives with the business know-how to turn their talents, hobbies or freelance work into a viable startup.

Participants also get a dedicated online business adviser for one-to-one sessions, advice from the school’s Titans of Industry, access to a variety of funding options and the chance to network with hundreds of other creative entrepreneurs.

Mr Richard, founder of School for Startups, the organisation which won him the National Council on Graduate Employment’s Enterprise Educator of the Year award in 2010, said: “The truth is, supporting startups is the best investment local leaders can make to increase prosperity in their region. New business owners make investments in everything from new workspaces to new employees in their first couple of years.”

Mr Richard received the Enterprise Educator of the year award from the National Council on Graduate Employment for his work through School for Startups with UK universities.

The course is being run for the first time in the north and is aimed at aspiring entrepreneurs across the creative industries. It is open to anyone over 18, whether their business is still at the ideas stage or is already a fully-fledged startup..

Heather MacDonald, chief executive, The Sheffield College, said: “This course is part of a new portfolio of professional and business qualifications at the college that will enable individuals and employers to get the skills they need for growth and that competitive edge.

“We are committed to supporting the local economy, and are delighted that such a successful entrepreneur, with strong credentials in education, is working with us to help more adults fulfil their business ambitions.”

Over the last three years, 73 per cent of School for Creative Startups participants, whose average age is 30 to 45, rated their prospects over the coming three to five years as good or very good.

Recent alumni include a snail farmer, a cocktail mixologist whose stock is now in Harvey Nichols and Fortnum and Masons, and a Great British Sewing Bee contestant.