Over 40 young entrepreneurs from across Wales came together to spend a weekend at an intensive three-day residential bootcamp to equip them with the entrepreneurial expertise needed to turn their budding business ideas into thriving realities.
This year’s Big Ideas Wales residential ‘Bootcamp to Business’ event in November was hosted at Kilvrough Manor in Gower, the first face-to-face bootcamp post-pandemic, following two years of virtual events.
Aimed at business-minded people aged 18-25, Bootcamp to business aims to strengthen the support system offered to young people seeking self-employment by developing young entrepreneurs’ budding business ideas through a series of workshops over a three-day event.
This year’s attendees were offered a weekend-long immersion in business and entrepreneurship including a masterclass in self-promotion, an explorative workshop in sustainability, a session on pitching and key insights into social media marketing. On hand to lead workshops and judge the weekend’s talented business pitches were Big Ideas Wales Role Models, business owners and entrepreneurs from across Wales.
Among them was mindset and well-being coach, Ryan Stephens, who is also a Big Ideas Wales role model. As part of his role as a role model, Ryan attends a range of Big Ideas Wales workshops and events to help young entrepreneurs better understand self-employment by offering first-hand advice and guidance derived from his own business journey.
Ryan delivered masterclasses in self-promotion and pitching having found success in launching two communities – a voluntary sea-dipping group called ‘The Wet Bandits’ and ‘Ideas and Beers’ – both avenues that assist people in improving their perspectives towards life and wellbeing practices.
The event closed with six awards. Best Pitch was presented to Jack Blundell, founder of Routebuddies, a Cardiff-based safety app that invites people of all genders and ages to coordinate their routes home together safely.
The Green Award was presented to Ivan Watkins, founder of handmade, eco-friendly dog grooming product company, Bardibums, while Miriam Hughes, founder of award-winning photography business Enaid Llawn Antur, was awarded Community Champion for her efforts in supporting the mental wellbeing of her community by inviting them out to embrace nature through photography.
Discussing his involvement in this year’s Big Ideas Wales Business to Bootcamp, Ryan Stephens said:
“This whole weekend is an incredible opportunity for young entrepreneurs across Wales to explore their creativity further, polish their business ideas and inspire one another to keep driving forward because we all know how testing entrepreneurism can be.
“I have had the chance to meet young people at very different stages of their business journeys and offer them first-hand insight and advice that I would have loved to receive when starting out. I feel uplifted by these young people’s drive and look forward to watching their businesses grow.”
Jack Blundell, founder of Routebuddies and winner of Best Pitch added:
“What an experience. I feel very lucky to have been able to spend a full weekend surrounded by like-minded businesspeople and receive advice from established entrepreneurs.
“The insight and skills I have learnt from this great event will help me through many challenging and exciting business milestones and I’m incredibly grateful for Big Ideas Wales’ ongoing support.”
Big Ideas Wales is part of the Business Wales service to encourage youth entrepreneurship in Wales. Funded by Welsh Government and the European Regional Development Fund it helps young people aged between 5 and 25 to develop business ideas and entrepreneurial talent.
For more information on the help available to young entrepreneurs from Big Ideas Wales, visit www.gov.wales/bigideas