How does this differ from Dragon's Den? Members of the public are encouraged to bring forth their business ideas and pitch them to other people in their community. Rather than be "bullied by rich people", as Jay Tompt said, they are offered a critical friend, a patient investment, or items and materials needed to get the project off the ground.
Last week Ian Smith & Sophie Paterson of Food Plymouth were featured on BBC Devon talking about their uniquely collaborative approach to supporting new food businesses in Devon.
You can hear the programme here.
They explained to Matt Tancock of BBC Devon a bit about Sustainable Food Places, as well as the work of Food Plymouth, but in particular they talked about the unique approach that is the Community of Dragons.
Working in collaboration with Jay Tompt of the REconomy centre in Totnes, Food Plymouth has now hosted three rounds of Community of Dragons, in which they have supported more than 48 businesses to start and thrive.
How does this differ from Dragon's Den? Members of the public are encouraged to bring forth their business ideas and pitch them to other people in their community. Rather than be "bullied by rich people", as Jay Tompt says, they are offered a critical friend, a patient investment, and/or items and materials needed to get the project off the ground. People offer support as mentors, investors, skills advisors, or just simply cheerleaders to a good idea.
The main principle is to create a collaborative support for new entrepreneurs, one that fosters a sense of community. People may offer anything they like in terms of support; it could be to walk your dog, to invest monetarily in return for goods, or a massage to keep you calm in the face of uncertainty.
As Sophie Paterson put it; "It's about getting away from being adversarial and towards supportive and critical support. People act as critical friends in this process." Other entrepreneurs also share their stories and experiences and offer what they can in this economically difficult environment. The Community of Dragons offers support from the start of a new business forming until they start to trade and on.
Last year’s Community of Dragons event saw three different enterprises took to the stage at Plymouth’s Community Climate Centre, in the form of The Hedgerow Hound, Leadworks Projects CIC and Heaven’s MicroGreens. As well as a chance to showcase their varied work to date to a room of over 30 people, they were able to seek help they needed to take their next steps.
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