5 Pitch for 50K Prize fund – Solent Young Start-up Talent 2016

On September 8th, the Young Start-up Talent (YST) final five candidates pitched their refined business plans at the Ocean Village Innovation Centre, Southampton, to a panel of judges in a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style event. All were hoping to win a prize fund worth up to £50k worth of business products and services. The prize fund is donated by sponsors and local businesses to help ensure the lucky winner will have all the assistance they need to kick-start their new business.

Before reaching this point, the candidates have already worked their way through different business workshops, as well as a speed-networking event, which involved local business professionals grilling and feeding back their worldly wisdom and expertise to the young entrepreneurs on their business ideas.


About YST:

Young Start-up Talent CIC is a community based project whose aims are to help 16-25 year olds with an entrepreneurial flair for business and make their dreams a reality. The initiative promotes innovation, entrepreneurship, leadership and talent development. The winner will walk away with £50,000 worth of products and services to help kick start their business.

The five finalists included:

Calvin MacLeod:

Calvin MacLeod, a man passionate about his business, Life Beacon, a mobile base application that provides tools for users and patients to manage their medical health by providing reminders, calendars, notes, prescriptions and a day-to-day diary. On the night of the event, Calvin commented, “I’ve found the whole experience invaluable. In fact, it’s because of this process that I recently secured a job in business development!”

Casper Nielson:

Casper Nielson, who is planning on starting a new mobile phone network, One Beyond. Casper hopes to become a key player in the UK mobile market within the next five years. “This process has enabled me to meet other like-minded individuals who understand the desire to work for yourself.

Harry Phelan:

Harry Phelan, with his business Studio H – a modern take on a traditional barbershop, which specialises in unique cutting styles and shaving techniques. Harry spoke about the whole process very highly, stating, “Young Start-up Talent has offered me the chance to grow my business a lot faster than I could have done on my own. The process has really made me think about the potential of my business, rather than just focusing on being an in-house barber.”

John Wheal:

John Wheal, with his business Group Hub, has developed an online space that helps to simplify the management and organisation of groups, clubs and societies and added “The feedback during the process has been invaluable and has prepared me for pitching my business in now and in the future.”

Ming Wu:

Ming Wu, who hopes to start an experimental lifestyle brand and design studio called UU-U Design which specialises in wearable technology with affordable fashion jewellery in an up-and-coming market. “During the process I have been extremely motivated and become far more focused and driven to get my business ideas of the ground.


The judges consisted of seven business individuals, including:

– Chris Allington – Managing Director of Oxford Innovation
– Simon Finch – Relationship Manager for the NatWest Bank
– Zara Hogg – Partner of Wilkins Kennedy
– Michael Dyer – Director and Head of the Corporate and Commercial Department of Version Law
– Ben Towers – the teenage Founder of Towers Design and CEO of Social Marley
– Lorraine Nugent – Managing Director of Media Word Waves and founding partner of Young-Start up Talent
– Matt Turner, a fellow founding partner and CEO of the Creative Group


Apply now to be part of the process by following the link below:

To find out more about the initiative, the process and those involved please use the links below:







Sponsors Involved in this year’s Solent Initiative Include:

– Oxford Innovation

– NatWest

– Social Marley

– Wilkins Kennedy

– Verisona Law

– The News Portsmouth

– Media Word Waves

– Creative Pod

– All Star Marketing

– 1st Computers Services

– Novotel Hotel Southampton

– Splash Display

– Portsmouth Technolopole

– Fareham Innovation Centre

– Ocean Village Innovation Centre

– Little Kanga


Camera Operators:

James French, Josh Smith & Niamh Slatter


James French & Josh Smith


Craig Brown

Voice Over:

James French

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