A new enterprise challenge to stimulate business in Huntly and District is launched this week.


‘Dragons Y’Ken’, a local variant of the popular ‘Dragons Den’ television show, will offer mentoring, signposting and up to £5,000 of investment to the most promising new ideas for the AB54 area brought forward by individuals or existing businesses. Organisers of the scheme have kept the entry criteria as flexible and low-threshold as possible to encourage all kinds of business ideas to be put forward. There are no age limits for entrants, proposals can be in any business field and can be a completely new initiative or a diversification from existing activity.


Anyone interested in the scheme is asked to register by the end of January 2013. Those registering will be offered support in completing an application form and business plan template. The panel of Dragons will hear the selected pitches in Spring 2013.


Behind the scheme are Quayside Fabrication, Dean’s of Huntly, Huntly Business Association, Prince’s Trust: Youth Business Scotland, Grampian Housing Association and Huntly Development Trust.


Colin Forsyth of Quayside Fabrication stated his motivation for helping develop the scheme:

“Our area needs more entrepreneurs and businesses. Starting up and running a business is a great challenge but also very rewarding. The Dragons Y’Ken initiative is a fun way of encouraging people to come forward and allow us to provide a little helping hand in getting their new business off the ground. Launching now will give people the chance to think about their ideas over the festive break.”


Bill Dean of Dean’s of Huntly explained the origin of the name: “We wanted to have a title for the project which people could relate to. ‘Dragons Y’Ken’ sounds a bit friendlier than Dragons Den and indicates that most of the Dragons will be people known locally. It is not our intention to give anyone a mauling in the Den, but rather to help people realise their business dream.”


Commenting on the challenge, Neil Clapperton, chief executive of Grampian Housing Association said: “Enterprise and employability projects are not the first things that come to mind when people think of housing associations.  However, at Grampian we recognise that you can’t separate our key role of providing affordable housing from investing in communities.  We have a key role in ensuring that communities are sustainable and good places where people, including our tenants, want to live and work.  That means business and employment opportunities in the local area.  We are delighted to be part of this exciting initiative and look forward to its results.”



The Dragons Y’Ken enterprise challenge is one of the first projects to emerge from the groundbreaking partnership agreement signed by Grampian Housing Association and Huntly Development Trust earlier this year. It also forms part of a wider Huntly Enterprise and Employability Initiative being established in the town.


Project fliers are available locally, including from the Brander Building and Linden Centre. Information is also to be found on www.huntly.net.


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