Wales’ young entrepreneurs celebrated at national competition

Make Your Own Tea won Best Business Skills at Big Ideas Celebrated

Wales’ young entrepreneurs celebrated at national competition

Some of Wales’ brightest young business talent gathered at Bangor University on Thursday 22nd March for Big Ideas Celebrated, a national competition of entrepreneurial talent for 16– 25-year-olds.

In only its second year, the competition attracted interest from over 100 team and individual entries from schools, colleges, universities and individuals outside of education across Wales.

Thirty-eight budding entrepreneurs exhibited at the event, showcasing their ideas for business and achievements in enterprise.

Finalists were in attendance from youth and community groups as well as schools, colleges and universities. 

The competition is part of the Welsh Government’s Big Ideas Wales programme, the support service for young entrepreneurs aged 5 to 25, which forms part of the Welsh Government’s Business Wales Service, and is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

Big Ideas Wales works to raise aspirations for young people in Wales to develop an interest in entrepreneurship and provides business support and mentoring to enable them to kick-start their business ambitions. 

On Thursday the finalists in ten categories (including Best Business Skills Award, Environmental Impact, Social Impact, Creativity & Innovation, Team Spirit, Future Entrepreneur and 10% Entrepreneur) all congregated at Bangor University to learn, develop, showcase and celebrate their entrepreneurial achievements.

The event also featured a number of keynote speakers, who were there to encourage and inspire the young audience, including Frankie Hobro, director and owner of Anglesey Sea Zoo, Emily Webb founder of Oarsome Potential Grips, and Dylan Rowlands, founder of wholesalers Gwin Dylanwad Wine.

The competitors delivered a two-minute pitch to a select panel of judges, including chair of the panel Hywel Ifans, Director of BCC IT Ltd, Elliw Williams, founder of Atom PR, and Geraint Hughes, founder of Jones Crisps.

Winners of the Best Business Skills Award included Make Your Own Tea, a bespoke tea brand from Coleg Cambria that aims to disrupt the modern tea market by allowing customers to create their own tea recipes, and Arfordir, a clothing brand from students at Ysgol David Hughes on Anglesey.

Echo, a sustainability company from Cardiff Met that takes unwanted glass and recycles it to make jewellery and homeware items won the Environmental Impact Award.

Elsewhere the Local Artisan Pop Up Shop, a collection of local artist and makers based in and around Cardiff, supporting creativity, community and local business, won the 10% Entrepreneur Award which honours young people who are in education or full-time work and also have a startup on the side.

Economy Secretary, Ken Skates said: "Congratulations to all of the finalists who have demonstrated the ambition, skills and spirit required to succeed in business.

"The Welsh economy depends on the success of our entrepreneurs so it is important we encourage, support and grow entrepreneurial activity right across Wales, and this includes inspiring our next generation to make their business dreams a reality.

"Events such as Big Ideas Celebrated provide great opportunities for our young entrepreneurs, enabling them to gain invaluable knowledge and skills and learn from the experiences of other successful individuals who have started and grown their own businesses.”

Big Ideas Celebrated is supported by key sponsors Admiral and NatWest Cymru, among an array of other supporters.

Speaking about the event Jo Garcia, Head of Partnerships and Innovation at Admiral said: “We are proud to support this competition where so many young people from across Wales are recognised for their innovation and entrepreneurial spirit.

“There’s a lot of great talent here with a bright future in business ahead of them.”

Cheryl Gourlay, NatWest’s national enterprise manager also commented: “It’s inspiring to see young entrepreneurs at this event with such passion and drive.

“The variety of different business ideas that we’ve seen displayed here, in a range of sectors and from all parts of Wales is very exciting for the future of the Welsh economy.”