FORMER TV Dragon Theo Paphitis helped launch 'The Business Pitch', a new Dragon's Den-style competition for business-minded students and alumni. 

The winner will receive a £10k investment to put into their business venture.

Theo Paphitis, who is also chancellor of Solent University, kicked off the competition, which seeks enterprising Solent students and alumni (those who graduated after 2015) to develop a scalable, creative idea.

Those that get to the final pitching round will face Theo and a panel of regional business executives in the summer of 2022.

Greek-Cypriot British retail magnate and entrepreneur Theo Paphitis said: "The launch today had an incredible turn out from our students and alumni. I look forward to seeing the fantastic final pitches next year, as Solent shows the business world what they are made of !”

Mr Paphitis is best known for his appearances on the BBC business programme Dragons' Den and as former chairman of Millwall Football Club.

Candidates will be requested to demonstrate their business's environmental, economic, and social sustainability impact on the UK economy, the city of Southampton, and the Central South region when submitting their business plans.

Director of The Solent Business School, Caroline Walsh, said: "At Solent University, we thrive on seeing start-ups grow into successful businesses. We are continuously committed to supporting student success and business growth at every stage of the process.

She also added: "The competition we have launched, inviting students and alumni with forward-looking talents to pitch their ideas to kick start or accelerate their business, is a fantastic opportunity to showcase key skills and take their businesses to the next level, joining a long list of alumni who have had managerial and entrepreneurial success".

Solent University has an enviable record of assisting start-ups, with companies like OTB Vendors, which has designed and manufactured the world's first truly self-service; automated bars for events and venues, and Wingman Nights, a nightlife app, both of which are experiencing rapid growth.

This investment opportunity is part of the key activity the University carries out in supporting successful business ventures. The project will run from November 2021 to June 2022, culminating in a live pitch to a panel of business leaders and Theo Paphitis; on Wednesday, 29 June 2022.