Braving the dragon’s den to secure a sweet boost

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THERE was a fairytale ending for a budding entrepreneur who braved a ‘Dragon’s Den’.

Paul Holmes, chairman of Kelvin Valley Honey, ensured a sweet result when he secured the top award of £25,000 in the Coalfields Community Challenge.

The scheme is designed to help fledgling firms create jobs in Scotland’s former mining areas.

Paul beat five other finalists to the top award in the challenge, run by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust.

Paul said: “I’m absolutely blown away. The £25,000 award will allow us to create three new jobs in the former coalfields communities of Kilsyth, Croy and Twechar – an additional beekeeping trainer, a volunteer co-ordinator and an outreach support worker for 22 housebound people who work with us.

“It will also make a real difference to our ability to enable people in former coalfield’s communities to take up beekeeping and develop community-owned beekeeping, honey and beeswax products businesses along the same lines as Kelvin Valley Honey.”

Housing and welfare minister Margaret Burgess said: “This Government is committed to the regeneration of our ex-coalfield communities.

“The Coalfields Community Challenge is an excellent example of how community-led regeneration can work to the benefit of everyone involved. 

“Regeneration plays a vital role in growing our country’s economy, helping to create jobs and prosperity and improving the life chances of Scotland’s people.”

Scottish Trustee of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, Tom McAughtrie – who chaired the Dragons Den – said: “All our finalists all came up with really exciting and viable business propositions, proving that the spirit of enterprise is alive and well in former mining communities.

“Choosing a winner was far from easy, but we felt that Kelvin Valley Honey is a well-developed social enterprise which is ready to deliver – one where CRT support can have a significant impact on Scottish coalfields communities.”

SWEET RESULT: Coalfields Community Challenge winner Paul Holmes with Housing Minister Margaret Burgess and Tom McAughtrie.

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