The Dragon's Den has arrived in Rotorua - but for the first entrepreneur to pitch it was an "exhilarating" rather than scary experience.
Tauranga-based angel investment group Enterprise Angels has been working with Grow Rotorua to establish a Rotorua chapter, signing up established business people to invest in local entrepreneurs.
On Tuesday night it held its first Rotorua meeting at the BNZ Partners Centre.
About 14 potential investors, including some of Rotorua's most successful business people, listened intently as Julia Charity told them why they should invest in her homestay business Look After Me.
Despite admitting to a few nerves beforehand, Dr Charity was pleased with her 30-minute pitch.
"It was exhilarating. I have been preparing for this moment for nearly nine months," she said. As a performance poet, she was used to being on stage.
"I knew my stuff and I felt confident," Dr Charity said.
She said it was not just the financial investment she was hoping for, but the investors' networks and business acumen.
The former scientist and mother-of-one said that she believed so much in her business she planned to go to the bank and get an overdraft if necessary.
There was also a brief presentation by Shanan Tana and Ra Marcroft, of Rotorua's Touch Media.
They graduate today from the first Rotorua investors' bootcamp, run over the past couple of months by Enterprise Angels in conjunction with Grow Rotorua and Te Puni Kokiri.
It was a chance for the pair to simply introduce their business concept, with the goal of making a full investment pitch in the near future.
Enterprise Angels founder Bill Murphy told the meeting his organisation had invested more than $8 million since it began in 2008.
In recent years there had been a pleasing increase in the number of deals done with Bay of Plenty entrepreneurs, he said.
He said the scheme enabled investors to give back to their community and put their "talent and their dollars to work".
To become a member of Enterprise Angels investors must meet certain criteria.
There are currently 103 members, with meetings held every second month in Tauranga, each hosting several pitches.
It is hoped this week's Rotorua meeting will be the first of many.