Search on for young entrepreneurs

BUDDING business leaders are being urged to showcase their acumen in our annual competition.

The University of South Wales (USW) is looking for individuals or teams to take part in the Making Business Happen Awards, run in partnership with NatWest Cymru.

Now in its third year, the competition gives student entrepreneurs, future business owners and social entrepreneurs the opportunity to operate in a real-world setting and prove their abilities.

The 2017 award is now open to entries from school or college students from across the UK and currently undertaking a level three qualification – such as AS/A-levels, BTEC National Diploma Level 3, or Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate. Entries can be either from individuals or teams of up to six students.

There is a prize of up to £3,000 for the winners and their school or college. Students can choose to enter a business plan produced as part of their study, while those undertaking the Enterprise and Employability Challenge as part of the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate can also enter using their innovation proposal.

The competition is also compatible with other enterprise awards such as Young Enterprise and Shell Livewire. Students entering these competitions will already have most of the content they need to enter this award.

The deadline for entries is January 13. Following judging, a shortlist of students will be invited to a two-day event at the University of South Wales next June.

Last year’s winner was Llandovery College students Huw Richards-Price, who created The Local Food Initiative, which aimed to help reconnect communities with local, sustainable food.

The market for sustainable food is growing, more and more people are becoming aware. In 2013 it had a share of £193.6m of the organic market, up 11% from the year before,” he said in his entry.

“Promoting the benefits of local food and helping to build links between growers and their communities will assist the local economy, as money will stay in the area, as well as the environment, since sustainable growing methods and being local will mean there will be minimal impact. I intend to do this by offering information and advice through online courses, books and podcasts.

“Communities will become more resilient and more food secure; they won’t depend on sourcing food from afar. By improving the links with local food, communities can work together and know exactly what they are eating.”

After being named as the winner, Huw added: “It’s such an amazing feeling to win the award, there were a lot of excellent business ideas and to be considered the best is such a great feeling. I have met some inspirational people and I hope to finish my sixth form education and go on to fully concentrate on my business.

The 10 finalists came from across the country – from Oldham and Huddersfield in the north of England, Leicester and Dudley in the Midlands, Cardiff and Llandovery in Wales, and Somerset in the South West.

Professor Jonathan Deacon, a Reader in Marketing and Enterprise in USW’s Faculty of Business and Entrepreneurship, said: “We are a university that is focused on entrepreneurship, engagement and employment – and this competition brings all three together.

“We want to see the next generations of entrepreneurs encouraged to get involved in bringing their ideas – for their school, as a social enterprise or a business – to life.

“We also want to encourage schools to encourage their students, capturing their ideas so they can all work together to develop them for the future.

Cheryl Gourlay, Regional Enterprise Manager for NatWest, added: “The Making Business Happen Awards last year were a huge success and NatWest is delighted to be sponsoring the awards once again.

“Recent research released by NatWest suggests that nearly half of Britons who are not already say they would prefer to be self-employed, and a record 27% say that now is a good time to start your own business. But the number of people actually taking that leap has fallen.

“There is a persistent gender gap in attitudes and action towards starting a business. Men are more likely than women to judge that now is a good time to start a business, to want to start-up and to be doing so.

“Young people have been consistently more positive about entrepreneurship than older people. Those aged 18-30 are markedly more likely to be starting their own business and to say that now is a good time to do so. They are also more likely to have positive attitudes about future entrepreneurial activity.

“Initiatives such as the Making Business Happen Awards are a vital part of the entrepreneurial landscape, celebrating those who are already on the road to success and encouraging those who are taking their first steps on the journey. We look forward to hearing lots of inspirational stories from this year’s awards entrants.”