Entrepreneur Claudia crowned winner of Dragoness’ Den
A Gloucestershire College student has been crowned the winner of the 2015 Dragoness’ Den, a national competition for entrepreneurs to launch or expand their business ideas at the annual Women’s Business Club Conference.
34-year-old Claudia Chanoca from Gloucester, who is currently studying for her HND in Graphic Design at the College, pitched her ECO Amor business idea to an audience of successful entrepreneurs at Pittville Pump Room in November. She won a prize package worth £1,200, including mentoring sessions, business photography, membership to the Women’s Business Club and more to help get her business off the ground, in a unanimous decision.
Launched 18 months ago, ECO Amor is a project which raises awareness of the impact of fashion and inspires people to be eco-sustainable by recycling and upcycling their old clothes into something unique, such as framed artwork and accessories.
Claudia said: “I am really happy that people liked my idea and feeling very confident that the prize will give me the extra help I need to get my business out there.”
Claudia joined the Gloucestershire College SU Enterprise last year after taking part in Micro-Tyco, a nationwide competition organised by WildHearts, which gives students one month in which to turn a £1 seed capital loan into as much money as possible. Claudia took her £1 and turned it into a career transforming recycled jeans into keyrings.
She then went on to develop her brand and write her business plan, all whilst earning credits for modules in her graphic design course.
Claudia added: “I want to be successful and raise awareness of environmental issues behind fashion, which is why I try to inspire others to get creative with their old clothes. I hope to open an online store soon and also deliver workshops in schools.
“SU Enterprise has guided and inspired me and given me the confidence to keep going. The talks they organise enable me to understand how to run a business, and they also gave me the opportunity to expose my work at the Women in Business Conference.
“My course lecturer has been supportive too; always giving me the help I needed to develop my project, and even changing modules for more suitable ones where possible, which has allowed me to study my course at the same time as preparing to launch my business.”
Deb Piper, SU and Enterprise Manager, said: “It’s fantastic to see how Claudia’s commitment to developing and refining her original idea has paid off. From the outset Claudia demonstrated a real determination to do her best in the Micro-Tyco competition, going on to enter the GC Enterprise Tycoon challenges and now a great business is launched. Claudia will be hugely successful as she has developed both the character and the business concept required for success.”
For more information visit www.gloscol.ac.uk or call 0345 155 2020.