Sisters Samara & Merissa Gidden of Haus of FLVR – win YST South East 2018 entrepreneurial prize fund

Samara and Merissa Gidden - Haus of FLVR

Samara and Merissa Gidden - Haus of FLVR

Young Start-up Talent (YST), an entrepreneurial initiative powered by NatWest and aimed at young entrepreneurs aged 16-25 years old, were honoured to host their South East Showcase for 2018 at Lingfield Park Resort.

After months of hard work, business workshops and presentations, it was announced that sisters Samara and Merissa Gidden of Haus of FLVR were the lucky winners of the YST South East 2018 entrepreneurial prize fund of products and services to help take their business to the next level.


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.

Following the announcement, Samara and Merissa said, “A wonderful experience filled with professionalism and knowledge. We are so grateful for the mentorship and confidence gained through talking about our business to the sponsors and judges throughout the process” The pair went on to congratulate their fellow finalists.

The duo now plans to focus on growing their business using the tools and advice given to them by Young Start up Talent, the Judges and sponsors.

See video link that was filmed at Thales and first shown during the showcase event of the finalists pitches and formal presentations.
Winners and judges of YST South East 2018

Winners and judges of YST South East 2018

David Toulson-Burke, Executive Director of Lingfield Park Resort and hosts to the showcase event for the sixth year said: “We are once again very proud to support this fantastic initiative which encourages our young people to seek to be entrepreneurs. We meet a whole range of people here at the Resort who join us to pursue various career choices and anything that gives young people an opportunity to succeed in today’s competitive marketplace can only be a good thing.”

New to the judging panel and sponsor, Ellen Walsh of Grant Thornton commented;” My colleagues and I have been delighted to be involved in Young Start-up Talent. It has been a privilege to meet with such a group of bright young people showcasing some brilliant ideas. At Grant Thornton we know that creating a futureproof, diverse and inclusive workforce is an urgent and ongoing priority for the future of a vibrant economy and we welcome initiatives such as this that encourage and celebrate talent and initiative.

Lead sponsor and long-term judge of the initiative, NatWest with speaker Daryl Gayler, Managing Director, South Region commenting; “A lovely celebration of our local young entrepreneurs. It is always so impressive to see the passion, the creativity and the business acumen of our talented young entrepreneurs and NatWest is very proud to be supporting Young Start-up Talent.

Judge and guest speaker at the event was Dave Kickham – Operations Director of Thales further adding – “An intense process, incredible quality of ideas and great professionalism, enthusiasm and single mindedness in each of the youngsters was very impressive throughout the process.”

Young Start-up Talent was also honoured to welcome past winners to the event with some sharing their experiences to the audience such as Harry Daymond of Kart Kompany – 2017 winner of the Gatwick Diamond prize fund who said “Congratulations to winners Samara and Merissa Gidden. All the finalists had great ideas and an innovative spirit and drive for their age. They will all do well and good luck to them.”

Thanks also go to 2016 winners – Simon Tomlinson of Jubylee Bakes who supplied and handed out bakes to guests at the event.                

Also, on the judging panel and presenting at the showcase were the two founding partners of the initiative Lorraine Nugent and Matt Turner who co-presented the evening.

Finalists and Judges

Finalists and Judges

As well as the winners, the other finalists, who also impressed the judges with their professional pitches, included:

Matthew Pritchard | MPower Clothing


MPower Clothing plan to make fashion inclusive for people of all abilities by attempting to create designs that can be implemented into mainstream fashion through creating some bespoke designs. MPower Clothing 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.

Mils Bangi | Student Inspire Network

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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 channels. 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.

Harriet Douglas | Miilkshake

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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.

Joshua De Wit | Green Carbon

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

Joshua added “I thoroughly appreciate the amount of time and effort all the sponsors and judges put into the initiative.  The advice, contacts and guidance I have received has been unparalleled, alongside being given the opportunity to hone and refine my business acumen. I believe this will put me in a much stronger position to develop my concept into a commercially-viable product.”

Founding Partners of the initiative Lorraine Nugent and Matt Turner further added "we have had a terrific year humbled to have worked alongside so many youngsters with such exciting futures ahead of them and wish them all well.”

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Sponsors of this year’s initiative included:





Brighton Video Production

Grant Thornton

Basepoint Business Centre

Structured Communications

Bennett Christmas

Federation of Small Business

Gatwick Diamond Business Association

Creative Pod

Wildwood PR

Lingfield Park Resort

Crawley Borough Council

Sussex Chamber of Commerce

Crawley & Gatwick Chamber of Commerce

Young Enterprise

Let’s Do Business

Platinum Business

West Sussex County Times

Beta Futures

Crawley Observer

Business First TV

Mid Sussex Times

Horsham District Council

Reigate & Banstead Borough Council

Laughton & Co

Brighton Video Productions