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Young businesses excel in enterprise

Published: 25th April 2013

YOUNG entrepreneurs from Manchester Metropolitan University head to London next month to test their skills against the country’s budding new business leaders.

New venture Quirky Charms has been named the winner of the Business School’s Young Enterprise Start-Up Competition 2013 after a 24-week competition and business creation task.

They will now head to London on 21 May for the national Goldman Sachs Young Innovators Programme Awards 2013 final to see how their venture selling unusual and quirky charms, will compare to dozens of other young businesses from across the country.

The final saw Manchester-themed T-shirt company City of Glory, unique craft jewellery outfit Quirky Charms and childhood confectionary business Sugar Rush go head to head in front of a panel of the region’s top entrepreneurs, industrialists and business professionals.

High calibre

Quirky Charms, made up of students Stephen Spary and Shanaz Roye, clinched the top spot. But the competition was so strong that City of Glory, run by students Jonny Bibby and Joe Harrison, also gained a trip to the final after impressing the judges.

David Taylor, Programme Coordinator for Business, Management and Enterprise, said: “This was the longest debate we’ve ever had to decide a winner as all the teams were of such a high calibre. Each year we set this task to give undergraduate students a taste of business creation and to develop their entrepreneurial spirit. The fact we have sent not one, but two new businesses to the national final shows just how strong the competition was this year.”

The Business School’s Young Enterprise Challenge saw a host of new companies test their marketing, creativity and business skills to become the most successful new venture.

After developing their concept and creating robust business plans with support from industry experts, each group was given £1000 worth of shares to commercially kick-start their big ideas which were formally launched in January.

Trend in the market

The top performing companies made it to a final round where they pitched their ideas to a panel of dragons including head of PR at international marketing communications agency BDB Alison Owen, founder of Rightway Employee Wellbeing Solutions Rob Woollen, Trading Director of MEN Media Sales Richard Roycroft, Regional Senior Partner at DAC Beachcroft LLP Robert Moss, Americamp CEO Lee McAteer and Senior Lecturer and Enterprise Visiting Scholar from Hollings Faculty Carolyn Branston.

The event was also supported by Manchester Metropolitan University senior lecturer in Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship Madeleine Jarvis and Claire Giddens from the Business School’s Centre for Enterprise.

Judge Alison Owen who will now mentor Quirky Charms as they progress to the national competition, said: "Well done to all three groups who beat off strong competition to reach the final stage. It was an extremely difficult decision this year, as every team presented an exciting business idea that showed strong potential.

"I'm delighted to mentor the winning team Quirky Charms, whose original jewellery collectibles tap into a growing trend in the market."