Published Monday, 4th April 2022

Inner Art and Nature Reclaimed have been selected from eight new businesses to win an investment grant provided by Reigate & Banstead Borough Council as part of its Entrepreneur Academy.

Last month, budding entrepreneurs from across the borough were given the opportunity to deliver a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style pitch to a panel of local business leaders at an event hosted by East Surrey College in Redhill.

Following impressive pitches from all the entrants, the prize fund was split between Inner Art and Nature Reclaimed to help develop their businesses.

The competition forms part of the Entrepreneur Academy, a free programme run by Reigate & Banstead Borough Council in partnership with East Surrey College.

Participants from the 2021 Entrepreneur Academy

The academy invites entrepreneurial residents to apply for the opportunity to learn the essential skills needed to set up and grow their new business.

Topics covered as part of the course include business planning, finance, marketing, legal, and digital communication skills, with the programme concluding with the opportunity to pitch for £5,000 in business funding.

Simon Bland, Head of Economic Prosperity at Reigate & Banstead Borough Council, said: “This is the 9th year we have run the Entrepreneur Academy and we are always impressed by the quality of local entrepreneurs.  We couldn’t do the pitches without our fabulous dragons and the guest presenters who generously give up their time.”

Jayne Dickinson, Chief Executive, Orbital South Colleges added: “Once again, the quality and range of the pitches was inspiring, and we’re delighted to support our local entrepreneurs through this ongoing partnership”.

The Entrepreneur Academy was set up to support entrepreneurs across the borough to launch successful businesses. Aspiring entrepreneurs who would like to apply to take part in the 2022 Academy should visit the Entrepreneur Academy pages of the Reigate & Banstead website for more information.

Katie Beth, founder of Inner Art, said: "I'm so grateful to have this exciting opportunity to enhance our Inner Art Tuition provision for our local and community.

“We’re looking forward to providing Ceramics classes ready for the Summer, especially given how many times we’ve been asked for it by our students! The Inner Art Tutor team are so committed and passionate, making this is a wonderful reward for them too. It’s been brilliant spending time sharing ideas and learning with other similar new businesses, and the support from Reigate & Banstead Council has been invaluable.

“Thank you to the ‘dragons’ for their time and input, and to all our dedicated Inner Art students and families for being part of our ongoing Art adventure."

Katy Markwardt, founder of Nature Reclaimed, said: “The Entrepreneur Academy is an incredible practical resource for any local business starting out and I am so grateful for what it has taught me.

“I feel incredibly proud to have been awarded grant funds for my business Nature Reclaimed, which will enable us to continue to grow and create more thoughtful, sustainable gifts from materials otherwise destined for waste.

“The funds awarded to our business by the Entrepreneur's Academy will enable us to upscale our production and invest in a greater presence at local markets, we can’t wait to get started!”