Entrepreneur Doug Richard in bid to help east Kent start-up firms

Doug Richard speaks at the Grow for It in east Kent launch
Doug Richard speaks at the Grow for It in east Kent launch

Doug Richard speaks at the Grow for It in east Kent launch. Library picture

by business editor Trevor Sturgess

Entrepreneur Doug Richard, a former panellist on the Dragons’ Den hit television series, is planning to help creative start-up companies in East Kent.

Mr Richard, founder of School for Startups and author of a Government review of apprenticeships, revealed yesterday that he is in talks with the Folkestone-based Creative Foundation and Kent County Council about running a programme for people with creative business ideas.

He told KentOnline that he had been speaking to Alastair Upton, the Foundation’s chief executive, about a possible programme.

Doug Richard’s School for Startups offers start-up loans of up to £10,000 to help young entrepreneurs from 18 - 30 get their business off the ground.

Speaking at the London launch of the Grow for It in East Kent campaign, he explained why he is so keen to help the creative sector in the area.

Last year, Mr Richard said at the Dover launch of the campaign, that he would be happy to move to East Kent because of its huge potential.

He said in the London Stock Exchange: “Kent - and East Kent in particular - is a very joined-up and ambitious notion.

"It’s one of the reasons why we’re talking with them about putting a school for creative startups’ programme in East Kent. It combines a number of things that are needed as a backdrop for growth.”

He thought the value of high-speed trains between East Kent, London and the Continent, were still under-estimated.

"It had a thriving creative community, easy and fast access, “relatively affordable” housing - “all the ingredients that lead to a thriving creative economy.”

He added: “Good things are happening around us, and in particular because of what they’re doing in Kent, it’s no wonder I’m upbeat.”

Mr Upton was unavailable for comment.

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