Levi Roots
Levi Roots (right) pitched his product, Reggae Reggae Sauce, to Dragon's Den in 2007. The company has become one of the programme's success stories.

Our answer to 'Dragons' Den'

Matt Pickles

At Arts Blog, we love the BBC show Dragons' Den.

But we have never seen a historian, a classicist or a linguist going up before the panel of dragons.

And believe us, we have watched a lot of Dragons' Den.

But that could be about to change, as Oxford University has announced its own pitching competition to find the most innovative and entrepreneurial ideas from staff and students in the faculties of the Humanities Division.

Unfortunately, candidates for the Humanities Innovation Challenge will not be offered £200,000 by Peter Jones or Deborah Meaden.

But the winner will receive £1,000 to launch the idea and £5,000 of in-kind support to help it to grow.

Last year, the first Humanities Innovation Challenge was won by a startup company which is bringing the Mexican superfood pinole to the UK.

Azure, which was founded by Dr Alexandra Littaye, believes pinole will be popular with Latin Americans living in Europe, the rapidly growing gluten-free market, and the sports nutrition market.

Second place went to MSt Creative Writing student Josephine Niala, who is looking to develop an app which trains people in the skills necessary to attract funding for local projects aimed at tackling climate change.

Third place went to another app – Hippo – developed by Michael Plant, a doctoral student in the Humanities Division. The app aims to help users tackle anxiety and depression.

The competition is a collaboration between Oxford University Innovation (OUI) and The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH). Staff and students are invited to apply for the scheme by Monday 8 May.