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On Thursday 28th February, young entrepreneurs met at Thales UK, 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.
David Kickham of Thales stated that he was “Knocked out by the enthusiasm of the candidates this year”, withPaul McConalogue, Director of Corporate and Commercial at NatWest Gatwick adding how “impressed with the passion each of the candidates showed during their presentations.”
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. Nine years on, the initiative has proven to be a great success, and is now run across the whole of the South East. Working with many local and national businesses, Young Start-up Talent award a prize fund of business products and services to one of the finalists, 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.
Jon Maile of Grant Thornton added “All of the candidates throughout the process have shown an impressive level of business understanding and entrepreneurial spirit. There were some great business plans and I have no doubt that all of them will go on to do great things in the future”.
After successfully making it through the first stages, the budding entrepreneurs were invited to undergo a business-know how workshop at Thales UK where they were given the opportunity to meet their fellow contestants and given feedback on their business ideas. From there, the entrepreneurs participated in a 1-2-1 styled speed-networking event with local sponsors and business professionals followed by the final five formally presenting their business to a live panel of judges and furthermore being filmed from five camera angles.
Tony Hyams-Parish of DMH Stallard “It was inspiring to see such interesting and credible business propositions. I have no doubt that all of the finalists will be enormously successful in their new business ventures. It has been a real privilege for myself and DMH Stallard to take part in this process”
On the evening at Thales, the young entrepreneurs pitched their business ideas to six fiery judges, including; Dave Kickham – Operations Director - Thales UK, Paul McConalogue – Director, Corporate & Commercial Gatwick Region for NatWest, Jon Maile - Partner at Grant Thornton Accountants, Tony Hyams-Parish – Partner at DMH Stallard, Mario Carrozzo – CEO – Caridon Property and Ana Christie – CEO of Sussex Chamber of Commerce.
Ana Christie CEO of Sussex Chamber of Commerce said “The talent and entrepreneurial flair of all five finalists made my job as a judge extremely difficult. All of the young entrepreneurs displayed such great confidence and skill. They are all enormously talented and bright.”
New to the judging panel this year was property entrepreneur and CEO of Caridon Property, Mario Carrozzo who commented “An inspiration, seeing so many exceptional students in their element , they conducted themselves like true entrepreneurs , no matter what the results are on the day I believe they will have gained so much from this experience it will be life changing.”
The young entrepreneurs pitching during the evening included:
No More Nasties
& Tom Gray
RED International Power Solutions Ltd
GMOD Admin Suite
Tom Williams & Luke Baldwin
Mantra Apparel UK
Rebecca Fitzgerald commented “I have learnt a lot during the process and looking forward to the showcase event”. Whilst William Venner said that he is “excited and grateful for all the advice and encouragement he has received throughout the process” and Anthony Mellor commenting “I have found the process really well planned and a valuable experience so far.”
Young Start-up Talent would like to thank Thales for hosting the event, Brighton Video Production for filming the event, Ben Chubb of NatWest for recording the voice-over of the forthcoming video and to Akeel Alidina of Caridon Property with helping to calm the nerves of the finalists and working with them on the presentations.
Akeel added “It was D Day for the contestants. There was nerves, over confidence and focus. I told them all they had nothing to lose. It was great to see a journey of growth in the contestants from the first batch of presentations! May the best future talent win…..
The winner of the Young Start-up Talent initiative for the South East will be announced on Tuesday 2nd April 2019 at Thales in Manor Royal where the audience will see a video of the formal presentation and then get to vote on their winner following live two minute pitches from each of the finalist. The judge’s and sponsors will be working with the lucky winner over the next 12 months.
To find out more please visit: www.youngstartuptalent.co.uk
Sponsors involved in this year’s Gatwick initiative include:
Basepoint Business Centre
Grant Thornton Accountants
Crawley Borough Council
Reigate & Banstead Borough Council
Horsham District Council
Federation of Small Businesses
Sussex Chamber of Commerce
Gatwick Diamond Business Association
Horsham District Council
Business First TV
West Sussex County Times
Mid Sussex Times
If you would like details to attend the showcase please email for more info to: firstname.lastname@example.org.