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Four local businesses face the panel once again in this year’s Taming the Dragons event

Published on: 14/11/2019

Back by popular demand for its seventh consecutive year, the Taming the Dragons event took place at the University of Lincoln last week, with four businesses pitching their ideas and plans to a panel of four ‘dragons’, hoping to snap up a business investment deal. Lincolnshire Investment Network, part of the Business Lincolnshire Growth Hub, teamed up with Streets Chartered Accountants, Fraser Brown Solicitors and NatWest Business to deliver the highly-anticipated business event in front of a live audience. 

The showcase evening began with Russell Copley from Lincolnshire Investment Network, introducing the four ‘dragons’ to the room – Lewis Stringer, from the British Business Bank; Simon Jones, Managing Director of SJ Associates (Hemingford) Ltd; Tim Sutton; Director of Fresh Growth Solutions Ltd and Neil Everatt, CEO of Selenity. It was then time for the businesses to stand before the dragons.  

Pitching first was Michael Shuster with his business, Robin Road. They specialise in the development of bespoke apps for businesses using a suite of online tools that they have created.  This significantly reduces the time and costs of business app development.

The second pitch came from Will De’Ath, whose business Tapkit focuses on using microchips and near field communication to help charities both receive payments via mobile devices, but also to better engage with their donor communities.

The third pitch was from Ellen Chapman, founder of TrickleNet, an equine services company that has developed a range of slow-feeding nets to combat the problems of horses over-feeding, a potentially fatal condition.

The closing pitch came from Andrew Stacey; Director of Avgo Biotech – an early stage business looking to develop pharmacological grade calcium carbonate from recycled egg shells.

The audience were then treated to an enlightening presentation from last year’s winner, Joe Cusdin, whose business, Iventis, have since secured a number of major clients and is about to receive substantial equity investment for the development of their event management applications.

After a period of deliberation, representatives from Streets, Fraser Brown and NatWest declared Will from Tapkit to have delivered the best pitch and presented him with a cash prize.

Tim Sutton, first time Dragon, said “what a privilege to be invited to this event!  Taming the Dragons was hugely successful, showcasing some brilliant, innovative ideas from Lincolnshire.”

Neil Everatt, a returning Dragon commented “excellent – some very high-quality presentations at Taming the Dragons 7 – certainly kept us Dragons engaged!”

Pat Doody of Natwest, who co-sponsored the prize, said “Last night was a great example of the quality of innovative thinking coming from the County in more ambitious times. Certainly, some of the pitches would have stood the TV version test and it was also good to see the level of interaction afterwards at the networking event when the Dragons, and others in the room, were able to give the pitchers some direct feedback and ideas. This is the 7th such event and every year the quality threshold rises with the event being one NatWest is extremely pleased to support.”

This year’s winner, Will De’Ath, said “it was a great experience and led to some very interesting discussions afterwards on a number of levels. It was also a big confidence boost to win and see so much interest in my business – I’m feeling very excited about the opportunity for us and where we can take it”.

Russell Copley, leading the event, said “I am really pleased with the quality of pitches and very grateful to the panel for their questioning, insight and support. I very much look forward to hearing how our pitchers develop in the next few months!”

The Taming the Dragons event is held on an annual basis but if you are interested in other events for small businesses held throughout the year please contact or visit

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