September 2015, Croydon:
Budding entrepreneurs shine with potential at East Kent business finale
by South East Marketing Agency Media Word Waves
This week, Gulbenkian Theatre in Canterbury opened its doors to Young Start-up Talent for East Kent’s 2015 Young Start-up Talent (YST) showcase, where this year’s winner of the prize fund worth £50k of business products and services and donated by 20 businesses was unveiled. It was revealed that Sabrina Pearson who entered the initiative with her company - Illuminame Limited, would be walking away with the prize fund to aid her start-up business that produces personalised table lights.
Sabrina said “I feel amazed and so surprised to have won as the other finalists were all very strong contenders. I am very excited about the next stages of progressing with the business and working with the YST team. I have to admit that I only had an idea when I first met with YST and working with them has bought it to life. Without Young Start-up Talent it would have remained just an idea and it can go further only because of the initiative. I would like to say a special thank you to sponsors Alan White of Fastsigns, who has been an incremental part of the development process and mentor throughout, without their help I would not have had the working prototype.”
The winner was decided by a panel of leading business professionals who listened to each entrepreneurs pitch and meticulously dissected each candidate in a bid to spot the most plausible business. Behind the panel this year was Lorraine Nugent - MD at Media Word Waves, Matt Turner – MD at Creative Pod, Pete Kenyon - Partner at Cripps, Tracy Newton – Director at Local World South East, Dara Chauhan – Regional Director of NatWest, Jane Ollis – Managing Director of Rift Accounting and Ben Towers of Towers Design.
The guest speakers of the event were Marcus Wright – Enterprise Manager for the University of Kent, Dara Chauhan – Regional Director of NatWest, the multi award winning young entrepreneur Ben Towers of Towers Design and Social Marley and founding partners of Young Start-up Talent Lorraine Nugent and Matt Turner.
Judge and sponsor, Dara Chauhan of NatWest commented “I was very impressed with Sabrina. I liked the business because the start-up costs are not huge, she identified and knows where her market is and where she stood out the most is that she made good contacts at the speed networking event and absorbed the feedback she was given, she came back three weeks later with a live prototype. She had to make the moves. You can introduce people to the contacts but that person has to act on them and identify where they need the help – Sabrina did just that. I have already has to act on them and identify where they need the help – Sabrina did just that. I have already ordered two of the products for my children.”
The evening saw a host of talent, with the young entrepreneurs displaying their business concepts on stands for sponsors and likeminded business heads to discover. The showcase also marked the premier of this year’s Young Start-up Talent Dragon’s Den style DVD, demonstrating the challenging process that the finalists undergo.
Among the finalists were:
A confident Matthew Leckie, 18, who entered the den looking to launch his business – Scootz, a company looking to create a high quality, lightweight scooter which can fold into a rucksack.
19 year old Hayley Heath, who came to Young Start-up Talent with her creative business ‘Pixie-Pots’, a floral workstation. Hayley hopes to not only sell her flowers, but to sell the experience of floristry by providing workshops for groups of all ages.
Kiran Reardon, 24, who has founded online platform - ‘Adkick’, a website that will allow advertisers to upload the ad space they have available to rent, creating a broad search engine for users looking to advertise.
Kiran added “I have enjoyed the whole process and enjoyed all of it and learnt alot and met loads of new contacts that I have started to utilise. I was able to shadow Tracy Newton – Advertising Director of Local World News and work with her team. I am now working from Ben Towers’ office in Chatham who has been mentoring and coaching me and the business.”
Jackie Sumner lead sponsor of Town & Country Housing Group said “Fantastic event, the standard of the finalists was very high this year and I look forward to seeing all four businesses coming into fruition and to them giving further opportunities to more young people as their businesses grow.
Ben Towers shared his incredible business journey with the audience and commented “It was a very close thing and impressed with all four businesses that took part in the final and the progress made throughout the process. There was a diverse range of businesses, and from different industries with all the contestants being from very differing backgrounds. I believe this is what Young Start-up Talent do really well and what makes them stand out and something they should be proud of.”
The team at Young Start-up Talent would like to thank all the judges and sponsors that took part in the initiative and are looking forward to launching for a third year in October.
For more information use the following links Young Start-up Talent