Dragons' Den


The Dragons are waiting!

Come into the Dragons’ Den – where you could win a £15,000 prize pot, including £3,000 from the Engineers in Business Fund, a years office space in ‘The Hatch’ and £1,000 worth of free legal support from Tughans... all ready and waiting to be pried from the Dragons’ talons - everything you need to breathe fire into your new business...

Shortlisted applicants will:

  • Be in with a chance to walk away with everything you need to launch your business
  • Master the boardroom pitch through training and first-hand experience
  • Ramp up your business skills through pitching, networking and mentoring on; Pitching Skills, Marketing, Finance and Legal Issues
  • Meet ambitious and successful entrepreneurs

Applications are now open and will close on midnight, Friday 24th January.

Apply now!

Terms and Conditions

Wed 05 Feb - ‘Pitching Skills’ workshop to get you ready
Wed 12 Feb - Deliver a 2 minute 'Quick Pitch' to a panel of judges:

  • Ciaran Higgins - Director, Queen’s Students’ Union
  • Ryan Murphy - Relationship Director, Santander
  • Andrew Kirke - Director, Tughans
  • Kirsty Dillon - Head of Technical & Engineering Recruitment, MCS
  • David Bradshaw - Regional Business Group, Invest NI 

10 shortlisted for Round 2…

Wed 18 Mar - Pitch to the real Dragons:

  • John Mckee - Chief Executive, Linkubator
  • Catherine Martin - Partner, CavanaghKelly
  • David Moore - Head of Spin-outs & Investment Manager, QUBIS
  • Louise Smyth - Joint Managing Director, MCS
  • Jamie Foulkes - Business Relationship Director, Santander

Thurs 19 Mar - Winners announced at The SU Awards

 John McKee

John McKee - Chief Executive, Linkubator

John McKee is Chief Executive of business consultancy firm Linkubator, which focuses on supporting small businesses in Northern Ireland to establish, develop, grow, and make a mark internationally. He began his career as a sales executive in the medical device industry, a sector where he progressed through sales management, new product development, and export sales development. John is also an acclaimed author, having written 'STAR Leadership Behaviours for Stellar SME Growth'.


Catherine Martin

Catherine Martin - Partner, CavanaghKelly

Catherine Martin joined the practice in 2005, promoted to Director of Corporate Finance in 2007 and joined the Partnership in 2016. She has taken a strong lead in developing our Accounts and Audit as well as our Advisory function and has a key role in leading teams on the provision of audit and accounting services to clients ranging from SME’s to large corporations, charities, not-for-profit, professional services firms and high net worth individuals. Within Advisory, she has successfully led teams in providing a range of services including management consultancy, business plans, financing applications and business structure.


David Moore - Head of Spin-outs & Investment Manager, QUBIS

David is an Investment Manager with QUBIS Ltd, the early stage investment fund responsible for the commercialisation of technology from The Queen’s University of Belfast.  He has been involved with high-growth venture capital backed businesses for over 20 years.  His experience covers a wide range of technology sectors and various stage of company growth from incorporation through to exit.  He currently holds Non-Executive Board positions with a number of the QUBIS Ltd spin-out ventures.  Prior to joining QUBIS Ltd, David worked with a regional development agency specialising in high growth export orientated technology businesses and was a Systems Engineer within the defence industry.  David has a primary degree in Engineering, a Masters degree in Business Strategy and a professional finance qualification. 


Louise Smyth - Joint Managing Director, MCS

With over 23 years’ experience in the recruitment sector, Louise has a successful track record leading sales teams across specialist recruitment, talent acquisition, account management, and temporary and contract staffing. Louise and her team work with organisations of all sizes to deliver experience in specialist disciplines. Louise studied Banking and Finance at University of Ulster before joining Grafton Recruitment where she spent 14 years before starting her career at MCS Group.


Jamie Foulkes - Business Relationship Director, Santander

In 2004, Jamie Foulkes graduated with an honours degree in Business & Finance and joined Barclays Bank as a Relationship Manager covering Chester & North East Wales. He worked in this team for two years before accepting a 9 month secondment to pilot Business Banking in N.I. after Barclays entered the market following its acquisition of the Woolwich Building Society. Two years later, having decided to permanently reside in N.I., Jamie joined Santander where he has been for the last 10 years. Jamie’s current title is Relationship Director which essentially means he is responsible for everything related to banking which could range from a transactional query to borrowing millions of pounds – the role is that diverse. Over his 15 year career, Jamie has looked after customers starting up to those who have traded for 50 years and have done so in England, Wales and N.I.