Young Entrepreneurs Pitch their Business Ideas to a Panel of Fiery Judges

On Thursday 16th February, eleven young entrepreneurs met at Thales Group, Manor Royal to pitch their final business plans to a panel of professionals in the hopes of being named the winner of a prize fund worth £50,000. 

GatwickDiamond Judges from left to right: Rob Nunn, Daryl Gayler, Lorraine Nugent, David Kickham, Matthew Tyson and Matt Turner

GatwickDiamond Judges from left to right: Rob Nunn, Daryl Gayler, Lorraine Nugent, David Kickham, Matthew Tyson and Matt Turner

The panel consisted of David Kickham of Thales, Daryl Gayler of NatWest, Matthew Tyson of Richard Place Dobson Accountants, Rob Nunn of Future Capital and co-Founders of Young Start-up Talent Matt Turner and Lorraine Nugent.

Young Start-up Talent (YST) initially launched in the Gatwick Diamond in 2010, encouraging young entrepreneurs aged between 16 - 25 years old to start their own business. Seven years on, the initiative has proven to be a great success, and is now run across the whole of Hampshire, Sussex and London. Working with over 140 local and national businesses, Young Start-up Talent award a prize fund of business products and services worth £50k in each region, providing them with all the tools they need to kick-start their business. Since launching, the YST team have been blown away by the quality of young entrepreneurs that have applied for the process, with this year being no exception.

After successfully making it through the first stage, the budding entrepreneurs were invited to undergo a business know-how workshop where they were given the opportunity to meet their fellow contestants. From there, the entrepreneurs participated in a 1-2-1 styled speed-networking event with local sponsors and business professionals. Discussions went on into the night, before only five businesses were chosen to go through to the next round, The Pitch.

                                               Candidate pitching to the panel of Judges

                                               Candidate pitching to the panel of Judges

David Kickham of Thales stated that he was “Knocked out by the enthusiasm of the candidiates” and Daryl Gayler of NatWest was very “impressed with the passion each of the candidates showed during their presentations.” Matt Tyson of Richard Place Dobson said that "he was enthused with all the businesses that presented and it was great to know that there are so many inspirational thinkers for the future in the Gatwick Diamond area.”

                                       Young StartUp Talent Candidates GatwickDiamond 2017

                                       Young StartUp Talent Candidates GatwickDiamond 2017

The young entrepreneurs pitching and wanting to be named the winner of Gatwick 2017 included:

Abbie Pritchard, with her food app that tells the consumer the specific amount of nutrients, such as fat and sugar in their food, hoping to prevent bad nutrition.

Harry Daymond, with 'Kart Kompany', a multi-functional event brand which provides services in the form of a vintage Kart for weddings, parties and other special occasions;

Will Bower, with his company 'Royalty Three' - a viral marketing and video production company with a twist;

Robbie Walder and Josh Leggett, with 'Label' - an online platform that allows clothing retailers to sample and hire out their stock;

And finally, a group of young entrepreneurs, Sidney Ellis, Henry Lagrange, Daniel Wheate and Thomas Axtell with their business 'Counter Play Café', which brings people together through gaming both online and the more traditional board games.

Abbie stated that she has“learned more in taking part in Young Start Up Talent than at university and she is looking forward to the final”.  Harry said that he is “excited to see who will win and is grateful for all the advise and encoragement he has received throughout the process.”

Young Start-up Talent would like to thank the behind-the-scenes team who work tirelessly to ensure everything runs smoothly, from the filming of the event to the AV and calming the nerves of the finalists.

The seventh winner of the Young Start-up Talent initiative for Gatwick Diamond will be announced on Monday 20th March 2017 at Lingfield Park Marriot Hotel and Country Club. The judge’s decision will see a lucky entrepreneur walk away with the prize fund worth up to £50,000 of business products and services.

To find out more please visit:

Sponsors involved in this year’s Gatwick Diamond initiative include:


Basepoint Business Centre

Richard Place Dobson Accountants

Reigate & Banstead Borough Council

Thales Group


Bennett Christmas

Structured Communications

Media Word Waves

Creative Pod

Federation of Small Businesses

London Gatwick Airport

Pivotal Moment

Sussex Chamber of Commerce

Gatwick Diamond Business Association

Horsham District Council

Beta Futures

Lingfield Park Racecourse

Crawley Chamber of Commerce

Crawley Borough Council

Platinum Business Magazine

West Sussex County Times

Crawley Observer

Mid Sussex Times