Young aspiring entrepreneurs from across the Solent area are competing for a prize fund worth up to £50,000 towards their first year of business. Young Start-up Talent is a program geared towards 16 to 25-year-olds who are looking to gain access to the business world. These promising minds gathered at Fareham Innovation Centre on July 5th where they were placed in a 121-speed networking session with business professionals from around the region in a bid to see their business take flight.
With his moto “Find the gap and stay focused!” Chief operating officer of Mission Performance, Bobbie Fung, gave entrants a motivational speech before they faced the professionals. With only seven minutes per sponsor, the area was flooded with entrepreneurial flair as the young talent competed for their places in the final. Young entrepreneur Harry Phelan said “I’m incredibly excited to be part of Young Start-up Talent. I am of course slightly nervous for what’s ahead of me tonight but it’s great to be amongst so many young entrepreneurial minds and to see great innovation being used.”
Richard May, Innovation Director at Oxford Innovation for the South, and mentoring co-ordinator, said: “This evening’s semi-final was a tense affair because the quality of ideas and innovation has been nothing short of astonishing – it was difficult to pick out the five semi-finalists because each of the 10 entrants had commendable ideas that could fly commercially.”
Geoff Collis of Wilkins Kennedy further commented “It’s been really interesting this evening in meeting all of the different candidates, there’s a huge variety of ideas.”
Only five will be able to make it through to the ‘Dragon’s Den’ style final. Each entrepreneur will pitch a refined business plan to a panel of judges in a bid to be the 2016 Solent’s Young Start-up Talent champion. The final showcase is set to take place at the Novotel Hotel in Southampton on October 20th, where the final winner of the prize fund will be revealed. Councillor Sean Woodward from Hampshire County Council said “Nobody is going to hold your hand all through life and you’ve got to get out there and compete, you’ve got to find the gap and exploit it and that’s exactly what these young people will be doing after today.”
The ten candidates involved in the semi final process were:
Casper Djurhuus Nielsen
Sponsors involved in this year’s initiative include: