Young Start-up Talent (YST) – the young entrepreneurial community initiative for 16-25 year-olds, now in its ninth year - hosted its annual speed-networking event at Basepoint Business Centre in Crawley. Young entrepreneurs from around the South East were all hoping to inspire and impress a host of national and local business professionals. Each candidate was competing for their place to be in the final five, bringing them one step closer to being announced as the winner of an incredible prize fund of business products and services donated by business professionals.
New to the judging panel this year and entrepreneur, Akeel Alidina of Caridon Property commented, “It was so pleasing to see a generation full of talent and entrepreneurial spirit. With the right guidance, I can see many success stories in the making.” While Mario Carrozzo CEO of Caridon Property further added “A great forum enabling the entrepreneurs to showcase and refine their business idea whilst receiving constructive criticism, mentoring and guidance from a variety of successful and experienced business people from across the South East”.
Ten businesses were selected to take part and voted in by the business professionals – the finalists that have been taken through to the next stages has since been announced as; Rebecca Fitzgerald, Tom Williams, Luke Baldwin, Hlanganiso Metagaidze, Antony Mellor and William Venner.
The ten business ideas were pitched on a 1-2-1 basis to each of the business professionals that attended the event. The candidates had just ten minutes to convince each of sponsors of the feasibility and originality of their business, whilst also showing their entrepreneurial passion, creativity and the ability demonstrate how their business is sustainable.
Jon Maile, Practice Partner at Grant Thornton who attended the event said, “The event was brilliant, we heard some great business ideas and met a group of very bright, brilliant young people”. Whilst fellow judge and long-term sponsor, Daryl Gayler of NatWest added “the entrepreneurial talent just gets better and better each year”.
A further addition to the judging panel for 2019 is legal sponsors DMH Stallard with experienced Employment Partner, Tony Hyams-Parish on the panel who will be joined by Ana Christie – CEO of Sussex Chamber of Commerce and long-term judge Dave Kickham – Operations Director at Thales UK with Founder Partners Matt Turner and Lorraine Nugent additionally making up the judging panel for 2019.
The young entrepreneurs pitching included:
William Venner – 17-year-old student from Collyers College in Horsham with his online software business aimed at the gaming industry.
Rebecca Fitzgerald – from Sussex University with her business ‘No More Nasties’ an e-commerce platform specialising in ‘free from’ toxins and plastic skincare products.
Conrad Manning – a passionate and qualified sailor and naval architect who is aiming to help engage, motivate and educate students into STEM careers through a series of maritime workshops.
Marley Ahmed from Croydon and first year business student from Sussex University with his media Platform ‘The Culture’, is aiming to post positive role model type stories to illustrate and inspire social change in teenagers.
Hlanganiso Metangaidsze is hoping to tackle the problem of access to electricity in third world countries by introducing and distributing solar home equipment.
Tom Williams and Luke Baldwin of Mantra Apparel – former students from Collyers College in Horsham and originally derived and expanded from a Young Enterprise group, are developing their brand of handmade and personalised leather wristbands
Antony Mellor, fitness fanatic of White2Label Manufacturing – a fitness fashion business with bespoke and white label product design and manufacturing.
Ikenna Mirembe from Crawley and currently studying a Masters in Design in London, is creating a platform and workshops to help develop critical thinking facilitated by the study of design for school aged youngsters.
Ryan Freeman – Find-Me-Fitness – a networking website for personal trainers and those looking to get into fitness.
Jinalee De Silva – a sustainable, ethical and high-quality clothing line designed by women for women, with the aim to help combat textile fabric waste.
Candidate, Tom Williams added “Thank you to all those involved in the Young Start-up Talent project and for all the support so far - very excited for the next stages and the rest of the process.”
The process will continue over the next couple of months, with the final five entrepreneurs formally pitching their businesses to the panel of five judges at the offices of Thales in Manor Royal during February. The winner of the prize fund of business products and services will be announced at a showcase breakfast event on Tuesday 2nd April at Thales where this year for the time ever the final five will have the opportunity of a live pitch followed by an audience vote to help select the winner of this years’ prize fund.
The business representatives that took part in the speed networking evening were from a range of local and national sponsors and as follows:
Sussex Chamber of Commerce
Reigate & Banstead Borough Council
Basepoint Business Centre
Crawley Borough Council
Horsham District Council
Crawley Chamber of Commerce
Business First TV
Federation of Small Business
Brighton Video Production
If you would like details to attend the showcase please email for more info to: firstname.lastname@example.org.