Could your business idea change the world? Here’s your chance to prove it.

Could your business idea change the world? Here’s your chance to prove it.

Applications are closed for The Young Entrepreneurs Challenge 2024. The Grand Final in London starts in:


Want to get noticed, put your ideas into action and make your mark?

Want to get noticed, put your ideas into action and make your mark?

The Young Entrepreneurs Challenge—brought to you by Verizon and Unloc—is an annual event centred around finding the best young talent across Europe.

If you’re 16–25 and have a fresh and innovative tech-led idea, The Young Entrepreneurs Challenge could help you get your business off the ground—or if you’ve already launched, boost it to the next level.

“Whether you have an idea or a full-blown founding team and prototype APPLY for The Young Entrepreneurs Challenge!”

- Rowan Armstrong, 2021 winner

The finalists

Previous finalists

Do you have an innovative tech-led idea but you’re not sure it’s good enough? Don’t worry. All entrepreneurs doubt themselves sometimes. But just look at this year’s finalists. They entered their innovations and made it through to the final stages. Read more about them and their ideas. Hopefully, it will inspire you to enter next year’s challenge. And don’t forget to join us live and see who takes home the big prize.

Devi Pathak

PulmoGuard ProScan

Ethan Waisberg


Mariia Alipatova

Solar Optic

Kolotat Phaiboonnukulkij

Phytaveren Technology

Hear more from some of our previous finalists below.

The judges

To pick the winner of this year’s Young Entrepreneur’s Challenge, we assembled a highly qualified team of judges. From a previous challenge winner to a former Dragon’s Den investor, two senior executives from Verizon and an author on a mission to inspire the next generation, our judges know a thing or two about cultivating a winning idea. And they know exactly what it takes to be successful in business.

Piers Linney

Former Dragons' Den Investor & Co-Founder, Implement AI

Sanjiv Gossain

Group VP and Head of EMEA, Verizon Business

Ella Robertson-McKay

Managing Director, One Young World

John Williams

Marketing Director & CMO - EMEA & APAC, Verizon

Jamie Bankhead

Previous YEC Winner & CEO, Konglomerate Games

The prizes

The prizes

One-to-one mentorship

You’ll be paired with an enterprise mentor, who will create an individual plan focused on your key priorities. This could be addressing knowledge gaps or helping match you with contacts or services to help get your business off the ground and into orbit. You’ll also get a series of exclusive masterclasses with a variety of industry experts; last year’s masterclasses included business finance, legal structures, R&D, strategic planning and forecasting.

Cash award of £10K (12K€*)

The overall winner will receive a £10,000 (12,000*) grant to help accelerate their business idea or start-up.

* Approximate Euros equivalent. The actual prize will be calculated based on the exchange rate at the time of the award. 

Global One Young World Summit

The winner will also get a trip to the One Young World 2024 Global Summit in Montréal. This annual event brings together many of the brightest young leaders from 190+ countries and 250+ organisations. The agenda is packed with events including speeches, workshops and networking events with influential political, business and humanitarian visionaries.

The judging criteria

The judging criteria

Applications will be judged on three key factors:

Is it innovative?

  • Is the idea unique?
  • Does it have a clear unique selling point?
  • Is the technology solving the problem in a creative way or filling a gap in the market?

Does it improve sustainability?

  • Will the venture improve people’s lives?
  • Will it meet social or community needs in a new way?
  • Does it meet or sustain a UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)?

Is it viable?

  • 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?

How to apply

How to apply


Applying is easy:

  • Simply record a short video  (at least 60 seconds but no more than 90 seconds)
  • Remember to explain how your idea meets the three criteria
  • Hit the “Apply now” button
  • Fill out the application form and submit your video

Then sit tight. Finalists will be announced in early February 2024


Applicants must be:
  • Between the ages of 16 and 25 years on 1 February 2024
  • Residents and/or citizens of the U.K. or the continent of Europe
  • Immediate family members of the judging panel are not eligible to apply
  • Previous entrants are welcome to re-enter, but previous finalists are not eligible
Business proposals must:
  • Be legal in all mainland European countries
  • Not have the purpose of political lobbying
  • Be the applicant’s own idea
  • Not infringe on the copyright, patent or intellectual property of others
  • Be submitted in English (both written and video)

Businesses must be either:

  • Pre-start (not yet trading)
  • No more than three years old and have had an annual turnover of less than £100,000 (120,000€) in its most recent financial year
*Applications are currently closed for The Young Entrepreneurs Challenge 2024

Watch Final

Get updates

Apply Now


Share this

Share this



Applications open
January 28, 2024
Finalists selected
March 7, 2024
October 2, 2023
Applications close
February 5, 2024
Grand final in London

Insight from past finalists, judges and mentors

Insight from past finalists, judges and mentors

The sponsors

The sponsors

At Verizon, we create the networks that connect people to the things they love, be it businesses to consumers; work teams to work teams; or employees to charities.

We’re problem-solvers, engineers, technologists, innovators and thought-leaders who create the networks that move the world forward. Networks that connect anything to everything and everyone to anyone. Networks built for innovators, entrepreneurs and anyone with the ambition to tackle the world’s biggest challenges.

Our story has been hundreds of years in the making and today businesses use our award-winning networks to make breakthroughs in immersive retail experiences and virtual fashion shows, through to remote healthcare and building revolutionary factory infrastructures to deliver the promise of the digital world.

Unloc is a dynamic 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, help grow their skills,  get a handle on their ambitions and promote alternative career pathways.

Through our wide range of engaging programmes, academies, and courses, as well as our physical Changemaker Studios spaces, digital offer, and touring roadshows across the UK, we provide young people with the confidence, creativity and skills required to be the changemakers of tomorrow.

Through the Verizon and Unloc partnership, The Young Entrepreneurs Challenge provides an extremely valuable platform for young people across Europe to promote their creative business ideas, and take their first bold steps into a promising new future.

Verizon UK Limited. Registered in England and Wales #02776038. Registered address Reading International Business Park, Basingstoke Road, Reading, RG2 6DA.

Unloc Learning Limited. Registered in England and Wales #08578126. Registered address c/o Portsmouth Guildhall, Guildhall Walk, Portsmouth, PO1 2AB.

Follow us


@ 2023 Verizon UK Limited. All rights reserved.

Devi Pathak: PulmoGuard ProScan

Devi has developed the PulmoGuard ProScan. It’s an innovative breathalyser which analyses organic chemicals and biomarkers to determine whether a person is susceptible to lung cancer. The device is intended for use in both routine GP exams and also for more high-risk individuals (e.g. smokers, exposure to environmental pollutants).

Ethan Waisberg: AngioGenius

Ethan has developed AngioGenius – generative AI technology that converts pictures of eyes from one type of image (fundus photographs) into another type (fluorescein angiography). This technology can be used to enable better tracking of the progression of eye disease – potentially helping to save the sight of millions of people around the world.

Mariia Alipatova: Solar Optic

Mariia’s Solar Optic hybrid sunlight system utilises advanced optics, and a sun-tracking mechanism, to provide natural illumination indoors. The system concentrates sunlight on the surface of the lens, and the light beam is then guided through a polymer optic cable to direct high-efficiency light into a building – offering potentially significant cost and energy savings.

Kolotat Phaiboonnukulkij: Phytaveren Technology

Kolatat’s start-up business, Phytavaren Technology, specialises in designing and developing eco-friendly, low-energy building materials. The solutions are created to help address thermal regulation, carbon sequestration and structural integrity in construction.

Theodor Blomberg: The Swirl

Theodor’s innovation, The Swirl, is one of the first truly bladeless hydro generators that harnesses the vortex effect – setting it apart from conventional generators. Crafted from recycled plastics, using 3D printing technology, the device enables the harvesting of green energy, while also creating a safe passage for fish and other biomasses.