Who's entering the Den?
Once again, the JC, together with the London Jewish Cultural Centre, has invited aspiring entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas for a Dragons' Den-style event. This week and next, business editor Candice Krieger will profile the finalists who have made it through to face the Dragons later this month.
● Tony Perkin and Laurence Wright Easy Pour'ter - a device that allows you to open and pour bottles with one hand
Confident they have the bottle to make it are plastics expert Tony Perkin and his business partner Laurence Wright. The Reading duo have created Easy Pour'ter, a device that enables people to open and pour two-litre bottles with one hand. The bottle is secured in a light-weight non-slip holder with a retractable handle and moulded gripper so users can easily unscrew the bottle cap and pour.
Businessman Mr Wright, 55 (left) came up with the idea five years ago after he had a stroke. "I found it extremely difficult to open bottles of water with one hand. I had a look on the internet to see if there was anything to help and there wasn't really. Then I had that 'light-bulb moment' and thought I would create something." Following a chance meeting in a coffee shop, he teamed up with Mr Perkin, 64, who has close to 50 years experience in the plastics industry. The pair have been developing the product for the past three years. "It's ideal for both the 'normal' consumer market and also people with physical disabilities," says Mr Perkin.
Easy Pour'ter is currently in prototype stage. Mr Perkin and Mr Wright are now seeking investment to assist with manufacturing. Mr Perkin cites John Lewis, Tesco and drinks companies as ideal potential stockists, in addition to the internet and television shopping channels. Retail price is an estimated £4.95. "We are really excited about this and aren't aware of anything else like it in the UK. Of course we hope that someone will invest and that the Dragons will be able to provide contacts that will help open some doors for us."
● Galia Orme CHOC Chick - a range of raw chocolate making kits and ingredients
Chocolate lover Galia Orme is looking to turn her passion into profit with her range of "healthy" raw chocolate making kits.
CHOC Chick Kits, set up by Mrs Orme in 2008, contain organic raw cacao and a selection of recipes to help people make chocolate that is free from dairy, refined sugars, hydrogenated fats, gluten and additives. Cacao beans, cacao butter and a fruit sweetener are the only ingredients. They are stocked in John Lewis Food Halls, Whole Foods Market, Holland and Barrett, the Haelan Centre, Planet Organic and Infinity Foods, plus various delis in the UK and Europe. Mrs Orme is also in talks with Waitrose.
A 44-year-old mother-of-two, she says: "My parents are South American and my mother always used to make pure and authentic chocolate. I grew up with it. A few years ago I discovered a new healthy way of making chocolate and decided I wanted to share this with other people. I was always making chocolate for friends and family. People think it's hard to do but it's so easy and the kits are great for those with allergies." She acknowledges that the company is set to benefit from the growing consumer trend towards healthier living. "People today are choosing healthier options."
Mrs Orme, who lives in Peacehaven, East Sussex, was born in Argentina. She has lived in Canada, the US and Israel before settling in the UK in 2002. She has completed two law degrees and has a background in marketing.
A total of £20,000 has been invested into the business but Mrs Orme acknowledges that more funding is needed to expand. "The plan is to get the kits into the multiples and supermarkets. I certainly need further investment to do this, in addition to PR and exposure. I need to spread the word."
The kits are priced at £11.99 and £26.00, depending on size and there is also the option to buy the ingredients separately.
● Patsy Bloom Founder of Pet Plan
● Zef Eisenberg CEO of Maxicorp Ltd & founder of Maximuscle
● Nick Leslau Chairman of the Prestbury Group of Companies & director of Max Plc
● Bernie Myers Former managing director of N M Rothschild & Sons Ltd
● Lisa Ronson Commercial director of Heron International
● Candice Krieger JC Business editor
The finalists will present their business ideas on June 27 at 7.30pm at the London Jewish Cultural Centre. Tickets and info are available on 0208 457 5000 or www.ljcc.org.uk