The Young Entrepreneurs Challenge
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Winner of 2020 Young Entrepreneurs Challenge
Rowan Armstrong of BioLiberty has been crowned the winner of the 2020 Verizon/Unloc Young Entrepreneurs Challenge. His company, which specialises in an assistive robotic glove for people suffering long-term conditions such as MS and Arthritis, fought off strong competition from across Europe to win £10,000 of funding plus a business mentor package during the grand final on February 25 2021.
“After seeing all the finalists pitch, I was not expecting to be a winner,” said Rowan Armstrong, founder of BioLiberty. “Every single one of the young entrepreneurs who presented were incredibly impressive. I am so delighted to win the funding - but more importantly, the support from Unloc and Verizon including mentorship and connectivity is going to be a game-changer. I am just so glad we applied and I can’t wait for this next chapter!”
Got a great business idea?
The Young Entrepreneurs Challenge brought to you by Unloc and Verizon is an online entrepreneurship competition looking for people aged 16 to 25, who are residents or citizens in mainland Europe, with fresh and innovative technology-led business ideas. We are reaching out to a Pan-European audience in our search for a great new start-up business. You could win a £10,000 / €11,000* grant, a mentorship package and pro-bono support to accelerate your business idea.
To enter the Challenge, all you need to do is submit a 60-second pitch video on the competition website. Five finalists are selected for the Grand Final based on the key competition criteria; viability, technology innovation and sustainability. One overall winner, selected by a panel of esteemed industry experts, will walk away with a £10,000 / €11,000* grant, whilst each finalist will also receive a £1,000/€1,100 cash injection.
Applicants will compete to win the overall prize at the grand final:
- £10,000/€11,000* of funding for their start-up business
- A mentorship package to accelerate their idea
- Finalist runners up will receive £1,000 of funding for their start-up business
Applications will be judged on three key factors:
- Technology innovation
*The actual prize fund will be dependent on the exchange rate at time of award
Online competition launch
Online competition deadline
- Can the plan achieve what it states it will do?
- Does it operate within the budget/resources currently held or will Acquire?
- Is the idea investment-ready? How will you use the funding if successful?
- Is the idea unique?
- Does it have a clear unique selling point?
- Is the technology solving the problem in a creative way or fulfilling a gap in the market?
Will the venture:
- Improve people’s lives in some way?
- Meet social or community needs in a new way?
- Does it meet or sustain a UN SDG in some way?
- Record a short video of yourself. The video needs to be a minimum of 60 seconds and a maximum of 90 seconds - remember to explain how your idea meets the three Criteria!
- Hit the apply button. Fill out the application form and submit your video. Then sit tight and wait to hear from the judges: finalists are announced on the 22nd January.
Rules & eligibility
Applications will only be accepted from:
Business proposals must meet the following criteria:
- Individuals between the ages of 16 and 25 years on the 1st February 2021
- Residents and/or citizens of a mainland European country
- Immediate family members of the judging panel are not eligible to apply
- Previous entrants who attended the Grand Final are not eligible to apply
Business proposals must meet the following criteria:
- Be legal in all mainland European countries
- Be either a pre-start (not yet trading); or not have been trading for more than 3 years and have an annual turnover of less than £100,000 on 1st February 2021
- Not have the purpose of political lobbying
- Be the applicant’s own idea and not infringe on the copyright, patent or intellectual property of others
Jamie Bankhead from Dundee took the top spot in 2019, receiving funding and a mentorship package to help get his business ‘Konglomerate Games’ off the ground.
Konglomerate Games is a video games company specialised in developing serious games. Over the last year, they have developed their own intellectual property, Archipelayo
Archipelayo is a video game designed to be used as physiotherapy for children with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) – a life-limiting genetic disease.
Jamie Bankhead, commenting on his success said:
I am simply delighted. The funding and support from the Young Entrepreneurs Challenge will make a huge difference in our efforts to launch Konglomerate Games globally."
The challenge sponsors
Verizon is one of the largest communication technology companies in the world, connecting millions of people, companies and communities globally with powerful technology. Using award-winning networks to make breakthroughs in interactive entertainment, digital media, the Internet of Things (IoT) and enterprise services for customers, to deliver the promise of the digital world.
Unloc is a social enterprise on a mission to empower young people to be innovative change-makers. We strive to encourage entrepreneurial thinking amongst 16-25 year olds and promote alternative career pathways. With the support of our partner Verizon, we believe this competition provides a valuable platform that gives young people the chance to promote their creative business ideas.