17 year old Tom Orchard of Tom’s Computers announced as the very first Young Start-up Talent Chichester winner of a business prize worth £50k

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After nearly a year's worth of hard work, Young Start-up Talent (YST), an entrepreneurial initiative aimed at 16-25 year olds, was proud to hold their very first Final for Chichester at the South Downs Planetarium on Thursday 12th January. 

17 year old Tom Orchard of Tom's Computers was announced as the winner of the prize fund of £50k worth of business support to help kick start and grow his business.

Over the past year and after visiting and running workshops in the local schools and colleges, including the University of Chichester, the chosen applicants were given advice and support for their business ideas through both a business know-how workshop and a 1-2-1 styled speed-networking event with local businesses and sponsors.

From there, four lucky finalists were chosen to present and pitch to a panel of seven judges. Finally, the judges awarded Tom Orchard a current sixth form student at Bishop Luffa School, with his business Tom’s Computers, the very first winner of YST Chichester.

Tom’s Computers offers a wide range of services, including, but not limited to, computer repairs, iPhone repairs and custom PC building, helping you to get back to your tech as soon as possible. Tom believes that this an area of the market that has not yet been taken over by one company, and he feels that his company could become this leader.

Upon winning this year’s Chichester initiative, Tom Orchard said; “I’m shaking because I’m just so thrilled! I never expected to win because everyone was brilliant and the competition was really hard. Now I just need to ensure I make something happen and take full advantage of the prize I have been given!”

Charles Taylor, another finalist - currently studying at Chichester College and former pupil of Bishop Luffa - also just 17, impressed the judges so much with his business 'Charles Taylor Pens' (which design and create individual, luxury, bespoke pens from a range of materials) that he was awarded with the Highly Commended prize. Lorraine Nugent, Founding Partner of YST, commented; “Charles has been with us throughout the competition since its launch in February 2016. His progression throughout this time has been incredible, not only professionally but also personally, growing from a shy and quiet young man into a confident entrepreneur who articulates himself very well. He has been a pleasure to work with!”

22 Year old, Leanne Robertson - a student from the University of Chichester, with LSR Therapies - a mobile business that specialises in pregnancy and sports massage therapy. Leanne stated; “It was a brilliant experience and I have learnt so much that I wouldn’t have done without this competition. I’m looking forward to growing my business.”

17 year old, Hannah Weir, with her business ‘Telephonium’ - an individual and bespoke telephone marketing agency offering professional business to business telephone marketing services to companies who are serious about customer relationship management. “It has been a fantastic process! I woke up this morning like a kid on Christmas Day. Although I didn’t win, I’m looking forward to growing my business and on boarding more clients.”

Young Start-up Talent were honoured to be joined by three guest speakers at the showcase event, including Dr John Mason, Co-Founder and Principal Lecturer of the Planetarium; Kevin Byrne, Founder of Checkatrade, who stated; “Young Start-up Talent should be very proud, as they are contributing to the future of this country. It is refreshing to finally see unions being built around entrepreneurism, as there was nothing like this out there ten years ago”; and Harry Phelan, winner of YST Solent in 2016 with his business, Studio H, who commented; “I have absolutely loved the journey I have been on throughout and since winning Young Start-up Talent. People finally take me seriously and actually want and value my business advice. This initiative is a real life changer.”

On top of this, a number of judges and sponsors also showed their support at the final.

Councillor Eileen Lintill of Chichester District Council, stated; “It was a privilege to be part of Young Start-up Talent in Chichester. Throughout the process we have seen young entrepreneurs come forward with some really exciting ideas. The competition was tough. All four finalists were of a high calibre with four very different businesses. The winner showed considerable business acumen and was very focused on what he was going to achieve. I wish everyone the best for the future and look forward to seeing them succeed.”

Another judge and sponsor, Louise Hastings, along with her colleagues Andrea Wulff and Andrew Henshaw of Moore Stephens (South) LLP were delighted to attend the showcase. Andrea Wulff commented; “As chartered accountants based in Chichester, we are always happy to support young entrepreneurs in their quest to start their own businesses. The quality of the four finalists on the night was exceptional. It was a pleasure to see them presenting their business ideas to the audience, and we were proud to be able to be a part of the initiative and wish all the entrants’ success for the future".

Young Start-up Talent would like to thank all the sponsors and supporters of the initiative, as well as all the people who work behind the scenes to ensure the whole process runs smoothly.

Bishop Martin, finished the evening with; “The winner, Tom Orchard, exemplified qualities found in each of the other contestants.  It is hugely encouraging to meet young people who are committed to delivering a high quality service, sustaining relationships of trust and respect with colleagues and clients alike, and to the hard work that brings about a successful outcome to their aspirations.”

Sponsors of the initiative in Chichester include:

Chichester District Council

NatWest

Moore Stephens

Chichester Observer

Chichester Chamber of Commerce

Chichester Cathedral

South Downs Planetarium

University of Chichester

PEP Printers

Simmons Signs

Beta Futures

Creative Pod

Media Word Waves