Former student fights his way to first place by impressing dragons

Former student fights his way to first place by impressing dragons
Craig, Zak and Gary

A former Forth Valley College student has won the fight to be first in 2022’s Forth Valley #THEHEAT22 dragon’s den style competition.

Gary Priestly and his business partner Craig McIntosh, saw their Submission Factory martial arts centre take first prize in the final, which took place on Tuesday 15 March, at Ceteris at the Alloa Business Park.

Now in its eighth year – and once again FVC sponsored one of the awards - ten amazing Forth Valley businesses pitched their new businesses (under a year old) to a panel of five judges, and as could be imagined, the competition was fierce to become the best new start in the area.

The high quality of pitches and the innovative businesses led to the judges having an incredibly difficult time deciding on the winners, with scoring being decided on innovation, social impact, growth, their pitch and sustainability.

The judges were impressed by Submission Factory and its potential for growth opportunities and the social impact its classes offer. They said the business presented a fresh approach to providing an all-inclusive gym, with a variety of affordable classes to suit a range of stages as well as personal training and gym facilities all under the one roof.

Judges said: “The passion and determination of the two business owners shone through their pitch and really impressed us. Gary is an ex-student of Forth Valley College and it is fantastic to see that he has co-founded a business in the local area.

“Congratulations to the winners and to all the finalists who took part. Every year the standard of new businesses entering the competition gets higher and higher and this year the judges were not disappointed. It is fantastic to see so many new businesses being born, even through the tumultuous last two years. The judges can’t wait till next year!”

Zak Stark, FVC’s Head of Commercial and Training Delivery, who attended the final event and is pictured here with Gary and his business partner Craig, said: “I am delighted for our former student Gary. He has done very well by starting Submission Factory with Craig and they have shown that they can go from strength to strength in the years ahead. Well done to them both.”