After months of hard work, business workshops and presentations, Young Start-up Talent (YST), an entrepreneurial initiative aimed at 16 to 25 years old, was proud to host their fifth Showcase for Brighton’s finest young entrepreneurs at The Platform on Wednesday 15th February. It was announced that Andreas Georgiades of Brighton Greeks and current student from Sussex University is the lucky winner of the ultimate business prize fund of products and services worth £50,000.
Following the announcement, Andreas stated, “I am absolutely ecstatic, in a state of euphoria! This award is going to do so much for myself and my team!”
Andreas now plans to continue moving forward with his business, solidifying his relationships and getting to know the community, allowing him to strengthen the company’s message: “To create a home away from home” for the Greek and Cypriot communities.
Gary Chown, Regional Director of Brighton and Hove for Natwest and headline sponsor for the initiative said; “It was good to see a diverse range of businesses – ranging from technology to clothing to community support. The finalists all commented on the positive learning experience that they will take from their individual journeys together with the network of contacts they have made during the competition. I am looking forward to seeing all the finalists progress their businesses over the coming months and years.”
A fellow judge, Dan Simpson, Partner at Hartley Fowler, also commented; “Andreas is a very worth winner, but all of the finalists were of very high standard. It was tough to pick a winner this year!”
Ana Christie, CEO of the Sussex Chamber of Commerce, stated; “This has been my first year as a judge for Young Start-up Talent and it has been a fantastic experience. It has been brilliant to see how the candidates have developed over the last few months and how they have taken on board all our advice moving forward”.
After launching this year's initiative in June of 2016, YST have worked hard to find the very best young entrepreneurs living across Brighton and Hove. The successful applicants were then invited to a business workshop before they faced a selection of local business professionals in a 1-2-1 styled speed-networking, where they gained invaluable advice on how to develop both themselves and their business. From there, the candidates were whittled down to just five finalists.
The finalists pitched their refined business plans to a panel of six judges. On top of this, the finalists had to hold their nerve in front of a film crew, as their pitches were recorded and shown at the Showcase. After a tense wait, Andreas Georgiades was announced as the fifth Brighton winner with his business Brighton Greeks, which aims to create a home away from home for the Greek and Cypriot community of all generations and backgrounds in the wider Brighton area, by connecting them through a variety of services and consumer products.
Young Start-up Talent was also honoured to welcome guest speakers, Nick Musto, Founder of Radar UK and Winner of YST Brighton in 2016, Tim Hawkes from Unlimited Potential, a business development company that uses a coaching approach in all their programmes, “being around the youngsters has given me new energy!”; and Ben Jeffries, winner of YST Kent in 2016 and Founder of Influencer, a marketing agency that specialises in social media campaigns.
As well as the winner, the finalists, who also impressed the judges with their professional pitches, included:
Georgia Crawford, with her business ‘Daubs and Dashes’ - an independent scarf studio with a difference. Working from their Brighton workshop, each organic, fair-trade silk scarf is hand painted with original artwork, creating a beautifully unique accessory. Georgia commented; “I am very excited to continue forward after learning so much from the judges and other candidates!”
George Lengyel, with ‘Hubbub’ - a revolutionary social network and app that connects people at events, venues and other locations, known as hubs. “Having recently receiving funding, I am looking forward to proving my model in Brighton before expanding across the country.”
Jack Maddalena, with his business ‘VR Drop and Share’ - a free virtual reality platform, where you can upload your 360˚ photos allowing you to create your own VR experience. Jack stated; “Although I’m disappointed I didn’t win, I am very excited for the future!”
And finally, a group of young entrepreneurs including Ardie Yilinkou, Junior Kassim and Gabriel Meidt, with their business ‘Talentbookr’ - the first digital booking agent in the UK market. The boys commented; “We feel so good as we have learnt so much - there is no giving up over here!”
Young Start-up Talent would like to thank all the sponsors who have helped make the YST Brighton initiative to be a brilliant success. We would also like to thank the YST team behind the scenes, who ensured the whole process ran smoothly.
Sponsors of the initiative and who all contribute to the prize fund are as follows: