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Lights, camera, ACTION!

All the background hustle, the preparation, the bruised heels and broken nails led up to this day and all we could say was, ‘FINALLY.’

On the 29th of November 2019, the Swansea Youth Entrepreneurs Network launched to the public. The event was themed ‘Becoming – where business and the arts dance together’, this was to be a celebration of business and the arts, realising that people are now more than ever before following their dreams, regardless of how unconventional they may be. We wanted to support these individuals and provide them with a platform to market themselves with one of them walking away with a huge prize.

Becoming saw people young and old, coming together from all over Wales, from different social groups and walks of life. One of the marvels of the event was that a youngtrepreneur could walk away with £1000 to take their business to the next level. This coupled with the opportunity to be mentored by the Development Bank of Wales in all things finance and money management to ensure optimal business growth, was undeniably attractive. The nature of the prize and the platform, drew over 20 entrepreneurs who were willing to prove that they deserved to walk away with it all.

There were a variety of businesses that showcased; from virtual reality and Barbery to jewellery and fashion – going around the exhibitor’s stands was a treat for all! All the beautiful delicacies, from the delicious cupcakes from Yummy cakes, the free photo-shoot by CLV photography and the once in a lifetime opportunity to pilot an aircraft with Pilot Plus! The judges really had a tough job as each idea was well executed with most having solid business plans and very profitable strategies. With such a calibre of talent to judge, we had to match up with a diverse and well-established group of judges.

They included:

Bernie Davies, founder of Jamaican Jills and the franchise director of introbiz,

Jane Ryall, Wales Manager of UnLtd,

Sue Poole, co-founder of Young Dragons,

Nicola Edwards, fund manager for the Micro Loan Fund

Gemma Hallet, founder and Executive Director of MiFuture.

Rob Basini, Development Manager at the Federation of Small Businesses.

Kathryn, co-founder of Young Dragons

The calibre of exhibitors was HIGH and the judges had a tough decision to make as to who would progress to the final round by making the Top 5, who were to give an outline of their idea, why they began and the ways they would use the prize to grow their business. The exhibitors that qualified were:

Emma Smith - sustainable winter sportswear

Gain App - discounts for students

Izu Akwari – Barber (1zmadethis)

Beauty Duty UK (human hair hair pieces)

Rares-Andreas Dorcioman - Mobile App

We had a fantastic entertainment line up: a spoken word, performance written and delivered beautifully by Maruva Mkanganwi, Kay Shantel and Maglory, who both serenaded us with their music and gave us a chance to get up and dance a little! We cannot forget Tanyaradzwa Chambati, the face behind ‘Jazz by ear’, who played the saxophone and gave many Southern Africans the chance to dance to some local tunes! Oh how entertained we were!

We cannot forget some people’s favourite moment: the modelling. The line was from Amoa House of Fashion, and the models you might ask? Well these were members of our network from Swansea University, which if we can so ourselves KILLED IT!

One of our promises was to take our guests on a trip to Jamaica with Jamaican Jills, and if we can say so ourselves, the trip was enjoyable! Our pallets danced under the sunset as we enjoyed some traditional Jamaican dishes, which were absolutely free!

Well, we have kept you in suspense about who won the ultimate prize among the exhibitors, to give you a feel of how we awaited this exciting news on the day. The winner was Mr Isaiah ‘Izu” Akwari, the 19 year old founder of 1zmadethis, a Barbery business which has seen exponential growth especially amongst University students. We will be keeping you posted on his journey and we are really excited to see how this seed money will change his business.

Well you might be asking what’s next? Well we can tell you that we have learnt so much from this last event and we only have great things to look forward to! But don’t miss out as we have workshops every two week so do join our network so that you don’t miss any of the exciting opportunities we have available to you!

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