6 Tomorrow’s Inspiring Business Talents

Obtaining adequate financial resources is vital especially for startups. This is why, NEF Fast Track, the entrepreneur development programme organized by the Centre for Entrepreneurs with the aim of fostering an entrepreneurial culture in the UK, awarded six inspiring young leaders from a cohort of 300 entrepreneurs working towards the creation of 150 ventures over the last year.

In particular, they competed for the David Pearl Pitch Prize, aimed at pre-seed and seed ventures that demonstrate huge potential for success, and CVC Young Innovators Award, which recognises the most-promising, new businesses in either the commercial or social enterprise sectors. 

David Pearl Pitch Prize

The David Pearl Pitch Prize saw more than 30 entrepreneurs pitch ventures that addressed varying issues facing society. The judges selected four winners to share the £10,000 grant, which is to be used to help accelerate and grow their business.

The winning projects include Reli, the maker of eco-friendly portable chargers made from 100% recycled plastics; Bourbon Streat, an experiential street food business bringing New Orleans flavours to the UK; Wedminute, the AI wedding planner that allows you to book the fundamentals of your wedding in a matter of minutes; Fireside Foods, a premium ready meal service for the elderly.

Finn Sims, founder of ReLi for a chat about his sustainable business and the NEF Fast Track Pitch Day experience.

Neeta Patel, CEO of the Centre for Entrepreneurs said, The funding environment is getting tougher for first-time entrepreneurs. While it has never been easier to start a business and although technology has lowered barriers to entry, these entrepreneurs need money to grow and access to finance has become more difficult.

From left: Neeta Patel, CEO of the Centre for Entrepreneurs; James Darby, founder of Fireside Foods; Shana Gujral, founder of Bourbon Streat; Katie Lewendon, founder of Wedminute; Finn Simms, founder of ReLi, and businessman David Pearl.

CVC Young Innovators Award

Moreover, leading private equity firm and long-term NEF Fast Track supporter, CVC Capital Partners, announced the winners of their annual Young Innovators Awards.

The £40,000 in grant funding recognises the most promising new businesses founded by NEF Fast Track alumni and will be shared among the winners to help ramp up the growth of their ventures.

Winning businesses include Art-K, which aims to increase children’s access to art – already running 22 art classes in the UK, it was started to fill the need for supplemental art programmes given the decline in arts teaching in schools; Adapt, the first ‘intelligent’ revision timetable that actually works for students – giving them a prioritised list of tasks designed for them by subject specialists, and automatically adjusting their timetable each day to reflect on what they did (or maybe didn’t) get done.

From left: Maud Millar, founder of Adapt; start-up mentor, Véronique Rapetti; Emily Harper, founder of Art-K.

Judy Marsden, Director of Philanthropy at CVC said:  “We launched the CVC Young Innovator Awards five years ago to give young entrepreneurs early stage funding to kick start their businesses. Both Art-K and Adapt are worthy winners and we look forward to supporting them over the next year through cash grants and access to CVC’s resources and network.”

Find out more here.