Young entrepreneurs pitch business ideas in battle for £50,000 prize

Young Start-up Talent Semi final Basepoint Crawley (Pic by Jon Rigby)
Young Start-up Talent Semi final Basepoint Crawley (Pic by Jon Rigby)

A bespoke blacksmithing company, custom-made skateboards, and a technology cafe were a few of the ideas pitched by young entrepreneurs in a business competition’s semi-final last Thursday.

Young Start-up Talent, now in its fourth year, gives 16-25-year-olds in the Gatwick Diamond a chance to win a prize fund of £50,000 to turn their business dream into reality.

At the semi-final of this year’s competition, held at Crawley’s Basepoint Business Centre, 11 fledgling businesses battled for five spots in this year’s final.

Forest School students Freddie Seagrave and Lewis Harvey, both from Horsham, won a place in the final with their business ‘Lord Clothing’ which is already producing branded t-shirts through social media and their website.

Lewis said: “It’s going to require a lot of work and dedication to our business, but it’s something we are prepared to do.”

Freddie added: “There’s an opportunity to build our own brand and get a following through social media.”

Other ideas that made it through included Peter Ross, 21, from Southgate, Crawley, whose business has already built an application for university students and academics to manage references.

Henry Rogers, 16, from Edenbridge, Kent, impressed judges with his bespoke blacksmithing company ‘Hot Iron’ which is already producing made-to-order metal gates, jewellery and ornamental hooks.

The last two finalists are Alex Redfearn, 21, from Godstone near Redhill, whose company Permit Skateboards makes bespoke skateboards, and Ashlie Regan, 18, a student at Imberhorne School from Crawley Down, whose fragrance business would aim to provide a cheaper alternative to designer perfumes.

Ideas that did not make the cut included a hospitality company, a business selling Jesus bracelets, and a mobile application to store driving license, passport and birth certificate information.

YST was founded by Matt Turner and Lorraine Nugent, managing directors of Creative Pod and Media Word Waves respectively, and has branched out to start parallel competitions running in Brighton and Hove, West Kent, and East Kent.

Sponsors include the West Sussex County Times, Crawley Observer, Mid Sussex Times, British Airways, Thales UK, Let’s Do Business, Gatwick Airport, Horsham District Council, Crawley Borough Council, Reigate and Banstead Borough Council, and Richard Place Dobson Chartered Accountants.

The other semi-finalists were: Aaron Hayton, 17, from Pound Hill, a student at Hazelwick School, Akhil Ashok and Daniel Nzekwue, both 18, from Couldson and Croydon, Zohaib Najam, 17, from Langley Green, Crawley, a student at Holy Trinity School, Leanne Usa, 18, from Tilgate, also a student at Holy Trinity, Zach Smith, 24, from Burgess Hill, and Harrison Castle and Peter Stoughton, both 18, from Croydon and Reigate.

This year’s winner will be announced at Lingfield Park Hotel and Country Club on Monday March 3 where visitors will watch a video of finalists pitching their ideas to a panel of judges in a ‘Dragons’ Den environment’.

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