Dragons' Den

The Dragons are waiting!

Come into the Dragons’ Den – there’s a £10,000 prize pot, office space for a year in ‘The Hatch’, and business advice 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 training on; Pitching Skills, Marketing, Finance and Legal Issues
  • Meet ambitious and successful entrepreneurs

Applications now closed.

Wed 7 Feb - ‘Pitching Skills’ workshop to get you ready
Wed 14 Feb - Deliver a 2 minute 'Quick Pitch' to a panel of judges:

  • Ciaran Higgins - Director, Queen’s Students’ Union
  • Grant Edwards - Associate Director, Tughans
  • Claire Harris - The Graduate School, Queen’s University
  • Ryan Murphy - Relationship Director, Santander
  • Helen Keys - Entrepreneur in Residence, Queen's Students' Union

Thurs 15 Feb - 10 shortlisted for Round 2…

Wed 21 Feb - ‘Understanding the Basics of Finance’ workshop
Wed 28 Feb - ‘Marketing and Understanding your Customer’ workshop
Wed 7 Mar - 'Basics of IP / Legal Clinic with Tughans' - workshop
Wed 14 Mar - Pitch to the real Dragons:

  • John Mckee - Linkubator
  • David Bradshaw - Invest NI
  • Catherine Martin - CavanaghKelly
  • Denise Murtagh - Dungannon Enterprise Centre
  • Andrew Kirke - Tughans
  • Ian Brankin - Danske Bank

Thurs 22 Mar - Winners announced at The SU Awards

David Bradshaw

David Bradshaw - Client Executive, Invest NI

David Bradshaw is graduate in Business and Finance. His career started in DuPont UK manufacturing their ‘Lycra’ product. In 1993 David began work in economic development and has over 20 years’ experience in dealing with business start-ups in a variety of sectors. David’s primary areas of expertise include business planning and finance. David is currently employed by Invest NI, Northern Ireland’s Government agency responsible for economic development where his role primarily involves development of entrepreneurship in Northern Ireland. 

 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.

Denise Murtagh

Denise Murtagh - Business Development Manager

Denise Murtagh is Business Development Manager at Dungannon Enterprise Centre and its consultancy wing Purple Dot, having previously been Student Development Manager at Queen’s University.  She has been training, coaching, mentoring and delivering workshops to entrepreneurs for almost 15 years. Having ran her own e-commerce business she has first-hand experience of starting a new venture and is committed to supporting new and established business to start up and grow.


Ian Brankin - Danske Bank

Ian is the Senior Manager within Danske Bank’s Corporate Strategy team responsible for shaping the future direction of Northern Ireland’s leading bank. Ian has extensive financial services experience in the retail banking and insurance sectors. His career, spanning c. 20 years, has covered both corporate and consultancy roles across UK, European and Emerging markets, with notable areas of delivery experience including: strategic and financial evaluation of existing businesses & new opportunities; business acquisitions and disposals; establishing B2B partnerships; delivery of new propositions and management of customer remediation. He’s lived in Northern Ireland for the last 8 years with his wife (a Queens Uni. alumni) and two children, and is also a keen triathlete.

Andrew Kirke

Andrew Kirke - Associate Director, Tughans

Andrew is an associate director in the Contracts and Technology team at Tughans, and works with clients across a full range of commercial contract matters, with a particular focus on working with early stage start-ups. Andrew is qualified as a solicitor in NI, England and Wales and the ROI. Andrew joined Tughans in July 2013, having completed his training contract with another leading Belfast firm. After qualifying Andrew worked offshore as a corporate finance lawyer, before returning to Northern Ireland. 

Andrew has been involved in Queen’s Dragons Den for the past 3 years, and also works with local start-up companies providing free mentoring support and legal advice through programmes such as Invest NI’s Propel and Accelerator programmes, Belfast Enterprise Academy and Catalyst Inc’s enterprise programmes.

Tughans is one of Northern Ireland's largest commercial law firms, and provides legal advice to businesses throughout the UK and Ireland, advising on nearly a quarter of deals here last year, and working on 34% of all investments into local companies.