An MP has praised the entrepreneurial culture of social enterprises.

Six social enterprises in Sussex pitched their ideas to investors in Dragons’ Den-style competition at the American Express Community Stadium in Falmer.

The initiative was organised by Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas, together with The Ideas Factory, Albion in the Community and the Brighton & Hove Community and Voluntary Sector Forum.

Caroline Lucas MP said: "This event was a fantastic opportunity for social enterprises in the city to showcase their work and ideas – and I’m delighted that so many people from the sector came to watch the Dragon’s Den pitches and hear the inspirational speeches.

“The quality of all the pitches was outstanding, and there was a very positive response from Ideas Factory and the wider audience of entrepreneurs and investors which will hopefully now lead into further negotiations.

“I look forward to exploring ways to build on the success of this event, so that investors come to recognise Brighton and Hove for its creative and innovative social enterprise sector."

'Fantastic experience'

Sarah Watkins, boss at Parentskool which runs ante-natal classes in the city, said: “I found the Brighton and Hove Social Enterprise networking and pitching event a fantastic experience and a great opportunity to showcase our exciting social enterprise ideas.

“It was inspiring to hear all the other fabulous enterprises pitching on the day and really nice to meet lots of other businesses genuinely trying to make a difference in Brighton & Hove.

“We hope that this will be the start of a new era in Brighton’s social enterprise industry, and hope that there will be many more such events in the future.

“The free training that we had in advance of the event was also fantastic and would have cost hundreds of pounds had we had to pay for it, so that was very much appreciated. All in all, it was a fantastic event and wonderful opportunity for Brighton’s businesses.”

Bryn Thomas at Brighton Permaculture Trust in Stanmer Park: “Brighton Permaculture Trust’s Scrumping project collects fruit that would normally go unpicked across the city and Sussex, and processes it into juices, chutneys, etc for local sale.

“The event couldn't have been better timed and has helped us to secure some of the funding needed for juicing equipment and a kitchen at Stanmer Park.”

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