Aspiring young entrepreneurs gathered at the Quakers in Brighton on Thursday 15th December, as they fought for their place in the final of the Young Start-up Talent initiative across Brighton and Hove. Over the course of the evening the young entrepreneurs were able to speak with the sponsors on a 1-2-1 basis in a ‘speed networking’ style, gaining invaluable insight into the world of enterprise and advice on how they should proceed with their budding business ideas.
The initiative, which started in 2010, is aimed at finding the next up-and-coming young entrepreneurs aged between 16 - 25 years old. After a gruelling process, the winner will be announced of a prize fund of business products and services worth upto £50,000! With over 140 sponsors across the South East, including prevalent local businesses such as NatWest, Gatwick Airport, Hartley Fowler Chartered Accountants, FaceMedia Group and Sussex Chamber of Commerce to name but a few, the initiative is proving to be very popular.
Ana Christie, Chief Executive at the Sussex Chamber of Commerce and judge, commented; “As this is my first time judging, I am surprised at the quality of the pitches and presentation of the young entrepreneurial ideas. The Sussex Chamber of Commerce are very proud to be sponsors of such a fantastic initiative.”
With only ten minutes each, the room was bursting with entrepreneurial spirit as the young entrepreneurs competed for their places as one of the finalists. Fadress Nyirenda, one of the young entrepreneurs, said; “Young Start-up Talent has filled me with a sense of empowerment. It has taken my hobby to a real business concept, giving me a safe space to grow and develop.”
Mark Bennett of Bennett Christmas added, “Young Start-up Talent gives us the opportunity to support young people in their journey towards creating business. As a businessman I can help! Youngsters are fearless and have the drive to make it work. I am really proud to be a sponsor.”
Amongst them, Alison Addy from Gatwick Airport and long term sponsor and supporter of the initiative further commented; “I am really excited and looking forward to watching the young entrepreneur’s progress through the process and seeing how their businesses develop.”
Following the speed networking the sponsors and judges have to make the tough decision of whittling the group down by half, with only five candidates making it through to ‘The Pitch’ in January. At The Pitch, each finalists will present their refined and polished business plans to a panel of judges in the hopes of becoming the Young Start-up Talent Brighton & Hove Champion in 2017. The final is set to take place at The Platform, Brighton, on Wednesday 15th February 2017 where the final winner of the prize fund will be revealed.
The 10 candidates involved in the semi-final process were:
Luke Ellis Bower
Sponsors involved in this year’s initiative include: