Big Ideas Celebrated is Wales’ national competition and showcase for entrepreneurial talent for 16-25 year olds
On Thursday 30 March over a hundred young entrepreneurs from all over Wales gathered at Cardiff City Stadium for Big Ideas Celebrated, the inaugural national competition and showcase of entrepreneurial talent for 16 – 25 year olds.
In its first year the competition attracted 80 excellent team and individual entries from across Wales and from all sectors, including schools, colleges, universities and individuals outside of education. Forty-seven exhibited at the event to showcase their ideas for business and achievements in enterprise over the last 12 months.
The competition was open to young entrepreneurs who have already started a business alongside school pupils who’ve tested business ideas through their enterprise studies.
Big Ideas Celebrated acknowledges the excellent work done to encourage enterprise with young people by partners and throughout our education system. Finalists emerged 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 to raise aspirations for youth entrepreneurship and is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
On Thursday the inspirational winners in six categories (Best Enterprise Activity, Business Idea, Money Matters, Environmental Impact, Social Impact and Future Entrepreneur) all congregated at Cardiff City Stadium to learn, develop, showcase and celebrate their entrepreneurial achievements.
The day also saw ten finalists battle it out for the title of Best Overall Business in five different sectors: sixth form, further education, higher education, outside of education and individual.
The vying businesses delivered a one minute pitch to a select panel of judges, including Neil Blockley, South Wales Federation of Small Businesses; Chris Grice, Tree Frog Digital.co.uk; Mandy Weston, Welsh ICE; Cheryl Gourlay, NatWest and Steve Dimmick, Doopoll.
Standout winners included Snapsearch for Snapchat, an app designed by an Aberystwyth University student to improve the experience of Snapchat users, which was the winner of the Best Overall Higher Education and Future Entrepreneur category.
The Best Overall School and runner up in Social Impact Award went to Helping the Homeless, an initiative by pupils from Cantonian High School to help homeless people in Cardiff.
And Best Business Activity winner and runner up in Best Overall Higher Education went to Daniel Huxtable, a student at University of Wales Trinity St David, who has established a business designing and selling bespoke martial arts equipment, Fightwear Store UK.
Other awards up for grabs included Best Display Stand; Outstanding Individual; Most Innovative Product, Service or Idea and the Ian Bennett Award for best team spirit.
Julie James, Minister for Skills and Science, was in attendance at the event, presenting many of the awards. She said:
“The many young people involved with this event have already demonstrated that they have the ambition, skills and resilience required to succeed in business.
They are an inspiration and many will undoubtedly go on to become the business leaders of the future and form the bedrock of the Welsh economy.
Congratulations to all the finalists and I wish you every success in your business ventures.”
The days various winners were the recipients of an impressive array of rewards, including over £3,000 of prizes from one of the event sponsors, Admiral; a start-up kit worth over £750 from Welsh ICE; hundreds of pounds in gift vouchers and passes to Bounce Below adventure park in Blaenau Ffestiniog.
The event also featured a number of keynote speakers, who were there to educate and inspire their young audience, including software specialist, Adam Curtis of Clockwork Bear in Swansea and Marc Flaherty from Wales Co-operative Centre, the national body for co-operatives, mutuals, social enterprises and employee owned businesses.
Big Ideas Celebrated is supported by key sponsors Admiral and NatWest Cymru, among an array of other supporters. Speaking about the event Ceri Assiratti, Head of People Services in Admiral, said:
“We are proud to support this competition and it’s great to see so many local young people recognised for their innovation and entrepreneurial spirit.”
Thoughts echoed by Cheryl Gourlay, NatWest’s enterprise manager for Wales and the South West, who commented:
“It’s inspiring to see young entrepreneurs with such passion and drive, and the fact they are based across all parts of Wales and are working across so many different sectors is great news for the future of the Welsh economy.”
Welsh Government’s Big Ideas Wales programme encourages young people aged between 5 and 25 to develop entrepreneurial skills and start a business. Part of the Business Wales Service, it is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund. For more information, visit www.BigIdeasWales.com
Tel: 02920 455182.