TWO judges from a popular television show that encourages entrepreneurship are bidding to make their mark in Herefordshire.

A county company and pupils at a Hereford school could be about to benefit from the experience of two of the programme’s stars as the moneymaking spirit hits the county.

A Herefordshire entrepreneur who struck the jackpot on Dragons’ Den is now hoping for more good fortune overseas, while pupils at Aylestone School have been handed an entrepreneurial incentive.

Emmie Matthews survived an appearance on Dragons’ Den last year and now wants to conquer the Spanish online bingo market.

The internet gambling expert appeared on the BBC2 show in November 2007 and collected a record £200,000 investment.

The good times are still rolling a year after their appearance – but the ride has been far from smooth.

Breinton-raised Emmie and her business partner Ed Stevens have moved into internet advertising and bingo following a mixed success with their Gaming Alerts website. The pair remain on good terms with dragon Theo Paphitis but the high-rollers have made changes following a series of problems.

The future looked bright last autumn when the retail magnate paid £200,000 for a 30 per cent equity in their site, which gave hints and offers at gaming websites. Although it remains profitable, some users were reluctant to download a toolbar to their computer.

According to Emmie, aged 30, the problems meant the pair had to “start from scratch”, but Theo’s nest-egg certainly helped.

“The £200,000 has gone quite a long way,” said Emmie. “We’ve got a couple of projects on the go and we’ve moved into officers opposite Theo in Wimbledon. The unique thing about us was the desktop alert on the website but we found that people didn’t want to download it. But since the investment we’ve set up a whole portfolio of sites and we’ve got a Spanish bingo website as well.”

Emmie admits the Spanish move is a gamble but she compares the Iberian market to that of the UK four years ago. If online bingo does take off in Spain then Emmie and Ed will be in a strong position to barter.

Meanwhile, more than 150 students at Aylestone School are taking part in the national Make Your Mark with a Tenner scheme, which is being bankrolled by Dragons’ Den judge Peter Jones.

Youngsters have to be imaginative and make as much profit as possible in the space of a month from £10 each. Any profit made can be pocketed, donated to a good cause or used to set up their own business.