Apprentice star Ruth Badger finds 'Flare' among Hatfield students

THEY RE the words contestants on hit TV show The Apprentice long to hear from Sir Alan Sugar: 'You re hired'. And for 21-year-old business student Michael Kashioulis, the dream of becoming a successful entrepreneur became a step closer, after winning the

THEY'RE the words contestants on hit TV show The Apprentice long to hear from Sir Alan Sugar: "You're hired".

And for 21-year-old business student Michael Kashioulis, the dream of becoming a successful entrepreneur became a step closer, after winning the University of Hertfordshire's Flare 2009 competition.

Flare, now in its fifth year, is the University of Hertfordshire's annual business ideas challenge, giving aspiring moguls the opportunity to develop an idea and kick-start their company.

Contestants are invited to submit a business idea, before drawing up a proposal with the help of experts at the university.


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Ultimately, entrants must pitch the idea to Flare's judging panel, which this year included Martin Carr from Hatfield business developers Exemplas, Mark Craigen of consultants Deloitte and former Apprentice runner-up and businesswoman Ruth Badger.

This year, 11 finalists pitched their proposal to the panel outside London's Tower Bridge.

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Michael won the contest with his website, www.grandparties.co.uk, which reviews bars and nightclubs in London and sells tickets to events in the capital. The website was set up late last year and receives more than 1,000 unique visitors a week.

He will receive a �15,500 prize fund made up of cash, training and consultancy from Imran Hakim, who found fame on BBC's Dragons' Den and inventor of the award-winning iTeddy.

Speaking at the awards ceremony at the Beales Hotel in Hatfield, Ruth Badger said: "Flare is a good opportunity for students to develop their business skills and practice their pitches to sell their ideas.

"Michael showed passion and true entrepreneurial spirit and if he focuses his targeting he has the opportunity to make Grand Parties a successful business venture.

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