Former Dragons’ Den investor Piers Linney is offering budding entrepreneurs the chance to win a personal mentoring session with him for a day.

It comes as the influential businessman launches his new venture, an online course packed full of his invaluable advice and information, which has been designed for start-up firms and those growing a new business.

Always keen to support new businesses in the UK, Piers has identified a lack of access to practical guidance for first-time entrepreneurs.

As part of the launch, he is offering to visit one lucky winner to assess their plans and help to set them on the right path to success. They will also receive free access to the course – called #StartUP with Piers Linney. A runner-up will also win the free access.

“As a result of my professional background in venture capital law and corporate finance and my public profile as a champion of small and medium-sized businesses and entrepreneurship, I get asked for advice all the time,” said Piers.

“And often, I’m not asked complicated technical questions – it is basic stuff. For most people starting businesses, they don’t have access to the support they really need and I can’t engage one-to-one with everyone.”

The 48-year-old added: “Motivational content has its place, but once the decision has been made to start or grow a new business, practical, accessible and step-by-step advice is what is required.

“Not everyone has the contacts and networks to access basic advice that can save money and time to reduce risk and improve on the chances of success. 

“Before starting a business there is a whole host of obvious questions people need to ask themselves, including how do I write a business plan? How do I structure equity? How do I manage people?  How do I create a brand?  What technology should I use?  How do I sell?”

Piers, recognised as one of the top 100 most influential black Britons, has a background in law and investment banking and has worked with companies ranging from start-ups to constituents of the FTSE 100. He is a non-executive director of the government-owned British Business Bank.

Piers regularly speak at events to support start-ups and growth businesses for global brands ranging from Cisco to Thomson Reuters to GSK. This year he hosted a #1 UK business podcast on iTunes, which was a partnership with UK bank NatWest.

On the BBC’s Dragons’ Den, he sat in judgement on a wide range of money-making ideas from the bizarre to the brilliant; he knows what it takes to turn a dream into a financially successful reality.  Piers also invested in Wonderbly, which was the fastest-growing UK tech company last year and is now backed by Google.

He has been working hard to create his new course. #StartUP with Piers Linney will be accessible online through the Teachable platform or its mobile app from Monday, July 22.

Comprising 76 lessons across 15 different modules, Piers explained: “The course will provide step-by-step practical and no-nonsense advice to anyone who is looking to get their business off the ground.  It will continue to grow over-time.

“The courses will give the kind of advice that people would typically receive from a mentor or business adviser, offering a baseline of information and knowledge which can be built as their business grows.”    

As part of the course package, which will cost £498, content will be added continuously, based on the feedback received. Those signing up will also have access to a private Facebook group where they will have the chance to get business tips from Piers himself.

He added: “It’s all about reducing risk and friction and helping entrepreneurs focus on the business of running their business. Businesses are like books – there is one in everybody and we should all start a business, at least once, even if it’s a side-hustle.”

The competition to celebrate the launch of the courses can be found on the ‘StartUP with Piers Linney’ Facebook page and LinkedIn profile.

First prize is an exclusive opportunity for a one-to-one mentoring session and free access to the course. A lucky runner-up can also win a free subscription.

Those entering just need to tell Piers in 150 words why they deserve to win the opportunity. Piers will be selecting the winners one week from today, July 29, announced on the social media channels.

For more information on #StartUP with Piers Linney, visit https://www.pierslinney.com/startup- course