The Cyclehoop bike rack has reached the final of a Dragons’ Den-style competition backed by the British Government.
The anti-theft device – a steel hoop which can be secured to street furniture to provide a locking point – won the South East heat of The Pitch 2009, a search for the UK’s best young companies.
Now Anthony Lau, founder of the Kent-based business, will compete in a star-studded final alongside five other top UK entrepreneurs to win £50,000 and one-to-one tuition with Dragons’ Den panellist millionaire Doug Richard.
Anthony said: “To be selected as the winner out of all of the businesses that applied from the South East is extremely humbling. Securing the £50,000 prize would go a long way to helping me grow my business. I’ve been told that some very well known business people will be attending the final, so I’ll need all of the time between now and November to make sure I’m absolutely ready to impress!”
One of the judges was Karen Darby, who sold SimplySwitch for £22 million in 2006 and recently set up social enterprise Call Britannia. She said: “It was incredibly difficult to choose a winner to go through to the national final. In the end we opted for Cyclehoop – an innovative yet stunningly simple idea which was beautifully executed.”
The final will place take place during November’s Enterprise Week in central London. Anthony will face a panel which will include Mr Richard, Mrs Darby, The Apprentice (UK) season one winner Tim Campbell and Deirdre Bounds, star of Channel 4’s Millionaires’ Mission.
There are even whispers that Sir Alan Sugar and Peter Mandelson, secretary of state for business, innovation and skills, will be there to watch events unfold.
Cyclehoop will be up against Vibe Gum from Bristol, BEEcycle from Manchester, The Printed Bag shop from Glasgow and Get Set Schools from Birmingham.
Established in 2008, The Pitch is a showcase event for entrepreneurs running UK businesses less than three years old, and employing up to 20 members of staff. It is organised by BusinessZone.co.uk in association with directories business Yell. As well as being backed by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, partners include Business Link, Make Your Mark, National Federation of Enterprise Agencies and Barclays Wealth.