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

YST South East 2018 Finalists

YST South East 2018 Finalists

On Thursday 15th 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 the South East Entrepreneurial prize fund of business products and services.

Young Start-up Talent (YST) initially launched in Gatwick in 2010, encouraging young entrepreneurs aged between 16 - 25 years old to start their own business. Eight years on, the initiative has proven to be a great success, and is now run across the whole of the South East and London. Working with over 140 local and national businesses, Young Start-up Talent award one lucky winner a prize fund of business products and services, 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.

YST South East 2018 Judges

YST South East 2018 Judges

On the evening, the young entrepreneurs pitched their business ideas to five fiery judges, including; Daryl Gayler, Managing Director for the Southwest Region for Natwest; Ellen Walsh, Partner at Grant Thornton Accountants; David Kickham, Service and Operations Director for Thales Group; Matt Turner, CEO of Creative Pod and Co-Founder of YST and Lorraine Nugent Co-Founder of YST and Public Relations Specialist at Wildwood PR.

David Kickham stated that the was “Knocked out by the enthusiasm of the candidates” and Daryl Gayler was very “impressed with the passion each of the candidates showed during their presentations.” Ellen Walsh said that she was impressed with all the businesses presented and it was great to know that there are so many “inspirational thinkers for the future in the South East and local area.”

The young entrepreneurs pitching to be named the winner of South East 2018 included:

Harriet Douglas | Miilkshake

YST - Harriet Douglas - Miilkshake.JPG

MiiLKSHAKE is a multi-platform publication and community for young female creatives, from all sectors of the arts industries. The platform consists of a website, as well as an annual magazine accompaniment that will share the same values and themes of content, featuring work from a variety of young female creatives from across all sectors of the arts industry.

Matthew Pritchard | MPower

YST - Matthew Pritchard.JPG

MPower believe fashion can help with empowerment that has a wider affect in helping people deal with mental health issues, such as depression. MPower plans to have a business that alters clothes for disabled people in the first instance and those who want more independence. Once the brand is established MPower will create its own range of clothes.

Milimis Bango | Student Inspire Network

YST - Mils Banji .JPG

Student Inspire Network is a millennial platform that educates motives and inspires students to start thinking about careers by bringing careers information to social media, on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and LinkedIn by creating millennial focused content for the social consumer. The company create, design and deliver millennial focused video careers content that allows corporates to maximise their student reach, and showcase careers in a dynamic, student friendly manner.

Joshua De Wit | Green Carbon

YST - Joshua De Wit.JPG

Green Carbon aim to deliver sustainable energy-storage systems through creating innovative, next generation battery architectures for all market sectors that would massively reduce the weight, charging times and packaging constraints of conventional battery systems whilst being made from abundant, lightweight and non-toxic materials.

Samara & Merrissa Gidden

YST - Samara & Merissa Giddon - House of Flavour.JPG

Haus of FLVR is an ingenious combined concept in consuming adult beverages paired with the novelty of a traditional ice lolly by producing a contemporary range of alcohol infused products that are not only enticing, by incorporating a myriad of robust flavours, but also causing consumers to fall in love with both the execution and delivery too. The complimentary organic fruit, classic flavour combinations and elegant packaging ensures a gourmet appeal.

Joshua De Wit stated that he has  “learned a lot during the process and is looking forward to the showcase event”.  Whilst Matthew Pritchard said that he is “excited and grateful for all the advice and encouragement he has received throughout the process.”

Young Start-up Talent would like to thank Ben Chubb of NatWest for the behind-the-scenes work and for ensure everything ran smoothly, from helping with the filming of the event to the AV and calming the nerves of the finalists.

The winner of the Young Start-up Talent initiative for the South East will be announced on Monday 12th March 2017 at Lingfield Park Resort. The judge’s and sponsors decision will be working with the lucky winner over the next 12 months.

To find out more please visit:

Sponsors involved in this year’s Gatwick initiative include:

Fast Signs

Basepoint Business Centre

Grant Thornton Accountants

Crawley Borough Council

Reigate & Banstead Borough Council

Thales Group


Bennett Christmas

Structured Communications

Wildwood PR

Creative Pod

Horsham District Council

Federation of Small Businesses

Sussex Chamber of Commerce

Gatwick Diamond Business Association

Horsham District Council

Beta Futures

Lingfield Park Racecourse

Business Radio

Business First TV

Face Media Group

Laughton & Co

Johnston Press Titles in the South East