Graduate turns ‘Dragon’ to offer business funding to students

A Bath graduate is returning to the University to offer students a £15,000 business start-up fund in a ‘Dragon’s Den’ competition on Friday 2 December.

Dr Richard Palmer will take on the role of ‘Dragon’ to listen to 12 pitches and select who will scoop a share of the prize fund.

He graduated from the University with a BSc in Applied Biology in 1973. After a long career in Research & Development in the pharmaceutical industry, and ten years as CEO and R&D Director of a listed biotechnology company, he is currently Executive Chairman and R&D Director of biopolymer company Warwick Effect Polymers Limited.

The competition is organised by the Students’ Union to support existing student enterprise and kick-start new initiatives. Entrants submitted a one-minute video pitch and 12 have been selected to enter the ‘Dragon’s Den’.

Speaking about why he has chosen to support student enterprise, Dr Palmer said: “I feel that encouraging a culture of entrepreneurship and the real business world is vital to the ability of the next generation of young business leaders to compete in the global economy.

“The University of Bath has a range of great courses and high calibre students, making it an excellent place to support, and I am very pleased to be able to do so.

“I’ll be looking for the pitches that show a strong management team and vision, and a good understanding of products, customers and market.

“As for what the students can expect in the ‘Den’, I’ll be a challenging, supportive and polite ‘Dragon’!”

Students who didn’t make it through to the final stage of the competition will still have a chance to meet Dr Palmer and discuss their ideas with him over a networking lunch.

Siobáin Hone, Student Enterprise Co-ordinator, said: “We're lucky to have very entrepreneurial alumni who are keen to engage and support emerging student businesses and the ‘Dragon's Den’ is an excellent way of connecting them.

“Richard will be using his years of experience to decide where best to put his money.

“Dragons expect a return so we'll want to know how the lucky recipients are going to show us what they've done with the cash!”

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