Dominic List: Poster boy for startups

Shropshire-born List, who has grown Comtact into a £6m-turnover business in just three years, has teamed up with the British Library and the Frederick Foundation’s Paul Barry-Walsh to invest in the next crop of entrepreneurs.

“I’ve known Paul for some time. We both share a common IT background and we’re keen to help the local community,” explains List, who appeared in Secret Millionaire earlier this month. “I’m very pro-business and pro-Britain. I don’t think we do enough in this country to capitalise on our talent.”

Last year, List placed a £20,000 bid for 150 billboards at a charity function hosted by a London hospice. He won. “I’ve been waiting for the right time to do something with them,” he says. “And this is it.”

He’s placed the billboards across the capital, calling on disadvantaged entrepreneurs – ex-cons, the disabled, the improverished, the long-term unemployed – to submit their business proposals to him. A panel of judges will assess the ideas. “There’ll be a Dragons’ Den-style pitch but it will be less aggressive and posturing! We have a pot of £25,000 to invest across the top five businesses.”

The deadline for entries is November 30, 2009. In the three weeks since launch, List says he’s already received 25 applications. London-based entrepreneurs can send their pitches to dominiclist@ or upload them here.

Related articles:Small businesses are bestPaul Barry-WalshThe Twitter pitch: Simon Dolan takes on the Dragons

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