From Apprentice To Entrepreneur

Posted on 14th January 2014

Social entrepreneur Raj Dhonota, who appeared as a contestant in the BBC series The Apprentice in 2005, has announced the launch of a new £1m start-up fund, aimed at supporting two new businesses a week this year.

According to Mr Dhonota, the fund will provide assistance to start-ups in the form of direct finance of around £20,000 per business, along with resources expertise, contacts, mentorship and a fixed growth plan.

The fund will support businesses across all sectors, although it is likely that technology enterprises will feature heavily, as it aims to particularly invest in firms that offer a new approach to an existing sector or those that target niche markets.

On his personal website, Mr Dhonota says that he is particularly looking for ventures that offer something new, rather than those who just want to “reinvent the same wheel”.

He adds that, being very entrepreneurial in his outlook on investments, he is not risk-averse, meaning that he actually enjoys backing the more risky ventures over those that simply offer the safest return on investment.

However, he stresses that, while he is not risk-averse, he believes that the person or team he is investing in should have, as Warren Buffet said, ‘skin in the game’.

Mr Dhonota said that he has always wanted to do something significant to help start-ups because of his own background and experiences and knows how hard it is to establish a viable and profitable business without finance.

Anyone, of any age, whether as an individual or as part of a team, can apply for funding by filling out the application form on his website, in which, amongst other things, they will need to outline their pitch, product, proposition and business plan.

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