An aspiring chef who moved to the UK from Slovakia in September last year has won a business competition with his idea for a sushi home delivery service in Crawley and the wider area.
Imrich Berta, 22, who lives in Crawley and is studying business at Central Sussex College, was named the winner of Young Start-up Talent, a business competition for 16-25-year-olds in the Gatwick Diamond, at the Lingfield Park Marriott Hotel and Country Club on Monday night.
He will receive £50,000 worth of business tools from the competition’s sponsors to turn his idea ‘Happy Go Sushi’ into a fully-fledged business.
Imrich thanked Central Sussex College, described being ‘shocked’ at winning Young Start-up Talent and added: “I’m from Slovakia and it’s an example that this country is offering a chance and opportunities to every hard working person with ideas.”
He added: “My family will be really excited. It was a big step to move to a new country and this is such an opportunity for me. They will want to visit me to see me running my business. They will definitely be proud of me.”
Imrich thanked Central Sussex College, and in particular Anahita Henry, its enterprise education manager, Matt Turner and Lorraine Nugent the co-founders of YST, and the competition’s sponsors.
Anahita explained how alongside their courses the college aims to nurture and push students such as Imrich when they come up with ideas.
During the evening a video of all the finalists pitching their ideas to the judging panel ‘Dragons’ Den style’ was shown to the audience.
The other finalists were Bethany Landskroner, 24, from Horsham, who has already started up her own company offering performing arts classes, giving students a chance to learn a variety of dance and music, Will Bower, 21, from Crawley, who pitched a creative, corporate video production agency to judges, while Christopher Foster, 21, at Chichester College, whose idea ‘Student Engine’ was to create a platform to connect employers and students looking for freelancers, internships, and other full and part-time work.
The only duo in the final were Rhian Gillah and Conor Haskins, both 16 and students at Sackville School in East Grinstead, whose idea was to offer theatrical prosthetic and SFX make-up to film studios or private individuals.
It was a big step to move to a new country and this is such an opportunity for meImrich Berta, Young Start-up Talent Gatwick Diamond 2015 winner
Speakers at the event included Ben Towers, a multi-award winning entrepreneur who at 16 already employs 15 full-time members of staff, and Michael Ibbitson, chief information officer at Gatwick Airport.
Joining Matt and Lorraine on the judging panel were Matthew Tyson, director of Richard Place Dobson, Daryl Gayler managing director of the South region for RBS Group, Jane McGill, talent management at British Airways, Peter Hitchcock, a vice president of Thales UK, Gary Shipton, editor in chief of the West Sussex County Times, and Penina Shepherd, managing director of Acumen Business Law.
Sponsors included Beta Futures, Young Enterprise, the University of Brighton, the Sussex Chamber of Commerce, The Federation of Small Businesses, Bennett Christmas, Fastsigns, Extech.co.uk, Avensys, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Gatwick Diamond Jobs, Crawley Borough Council, Basepoint Crawley, Gatwick Diamond Business, Crawley and Gatwick Chamber of Commerce, McDonalds, Crawley Town Football Club, Bloc Hotels, Horsham District Council, Reigate and Banstead Borough Council, S4b Document Solutions, Latest TV, and Central Sussex College.