Unloc and Verizon Business have launched the annual Young Entrepreneurs Challenge for 2023. Now in its sixth year, the challenge is open to European entrepreneurs aged between 16-25 years old, who can submit their technology-led start-up business concept online.
The winner will receive £10,000, mentorship and a technology package to launch their business. In addition, they will also receive a ticket to attend the Global One Young World 2024 Montréal Summit.
This annual European entrepreneurship competition for young people aims to encourage and attract the dynamic new business leaders of tomorrow.
“Every year the Young Entrepreneurs Challenge uncovers amazing young talent from across Europe and it is a privilege to be able help encourage and support tomorrow’s innovators” said Sanjiv Gossain, General Manager and Head of EMEA for Verizon Business. “It is inspiring and reassuring to see youthful and bright minds focus on building businesses that will tackle social, community and sustainability issues.”
“This year’s competition is gearing up to be our biggest and best yet, and we’re so excited to see the ideas of young people from across Europe as they tackle important global issues such as climate change, sustainability and the health sector,” said Hayden Taylor, Managing Director of Unloc.
“Every year we’re so impressed with the business minds of young entrepreneurs, and this year there’s even more opportunity for entrants with a great idea that needs nurturing, as well as those with a more developed plan. Last year’s winner, Olivia Simpson, absolutely blew us away with her foresight and vision for a medical industry that’s conscious of the materials it uses, and her idea to replace single use plastics with compostable alternatives. We cannot wait to see what innovation young changemakers envision this year.”
To enter, entrants are asked to record a 60-90 second video, as well as completing an online application form outlining their business idea.
Applications will be judged based on their viability, technology innovation and sustainability.
Finalists will then compete head-to-head in a grand finale held in February 2024, pitching their business concept live to a panel of expert judges and invited guests representing both the worlds of business and education.
Winner of the Young Entrepreneur Challenge 2022 – Olivia Simpson
Last year’s winner was the inspirational 21 year old Olivia Simpson (pictured). Her start-up SymbioTex is developing single use plastics for the medical industry such as inhalers, COVID tests and pregnancy tests that are home compostable. Currently these types of devices are made of non-renewable materials and at the end of their life go to landfill or incineration – creating harmful byproducts such as microplastics.
Olivia aims to licence their technology to current medical device manufacturers, something that would transform the medical sector and its sustainability. Symbiotex are now working closely with the NHS and making great strides, a true testimony of the young talent that the Young Entrepreneurs Challenge helps discover. Olivia has some advice for anyone thinking of applying:
“I’d urge anyone who is considering entering to not just consider. Apply! Being in the final was a huge opportunity for us and our concept. The Unloc team were incredibly supportive, both in the run up to the day and on the day itself. All the Unloc staff went above and beyond and were incredibly friendly and supportive, they made me feel really prepared. Never have I felt so empowered at a competition by the other finalists and the staff – it really was a great day. My top tip would be to get your passion across. You never know the next winner could be you.”