After months of hard work, business workshops and presentations, Young Start-Up Talent (YST), an entrepreneurial initiative aimed at 16 to 25 year-olds, hosted their fifth showcase for Brighton's finest young entrepreneurs at The Platform last Wednesday night. Andreas Georgiades of Brighton Greeks, a current student at the University of Sussex, was announced as the lucky winner of the ultimate business prize fund, of products and services worth £50,000.
"I am absolutely ecstatic, in a state of euphoria," said Andreas after the announcement was made. "This award is going to do so much for myself and my team!”
Andreas now plans to continue moving forward with his business, solidifying his relationships and getting to know the community, allowing him to strengthen the company's message: "To create a home away from home" for Greek and Cypriot communities in the UK. Andreas started the organisation with co-founder Marios Petri less than two years ago, and they have been supported by Sussex Innovation via the various student enterprise initiatives it runs on behalf of the University.
Gary Chown, Regional Director of Brighton and Hove for Natwest and headline sponsor for YST Brighton said; "It was good to see a diverse range of businesses – ranging from technology to clothing to community support. The finalists all commented on the positive learning experience that they will take from their individual journeys together with the network of contacts they have made during the competition. I am looking forward to seeing all the finalists progress their businesses over the coming months and years."
A fellow judge, Dan Simpson, Partner at Hartley Fowler, also commented; "Andreas is a very worth winner, but all of the finalists were of very high standard. It was tough to pick a winner this year!"
Ana Christie, CEO of the Sussex Chamber of Commerce, stated; "This has been my first year as a judge for Young Start-up Talent and it has been a fantastic experience. It has been brilliant to see how the candidates have developed over the last few months and how they have taken on board all our advice moving forward."
After launching this year's initiative in June of 2016, YST have worked hard to find the very best young entrepreneurs living across Brighton and Hove. The successful applicants were invited to a business workshop before facing a selection of local business professionals in 1-2-1 speed-networking, where they gained invaluable advice on how to develop both themselves and their business. From there, the candidates were whittled down to just five finalists.
The finalists pitched their refined business plans to a panel of six judges. On top of this, they had to hold their nerve in front of a film crew, as their pitches were recorded and shown at the Showcase. After a tense wait, Andreas Georgiades was announced as the fifth Brighton winner. Andreas has previously received a Santander Junior Associate Entrepreneurship Bursary, awarded by the Sussex Innovation Centre, and is also a finalist in the current year's StartUp Sussex competition.
Last year's winner of YST Brighton, Nick Musto of Radar, returned as a guest speaker at this year's event. Like Andreas, Nick is an alumnus of the StartUp Sussex programme, having won an award in 2015. A fellow StartUp Sussex winner that year, George Lengyel, was also present on Wednesday night as a finalist. George presented Hubbub - a revolutionary social network and app that connects people at events, venues and other locations, known as hubs.