7 July 2017
The winner and runners-up of USW’s Making Business Happen Awards. Left to right: Jack Brookes (Dudley College) , George Wilbraham, Gugulabazali Ndlovu, Tushar Bhatia (Coleg Cambria Yale, Wrexham), Ben Reynolds, Jacob Bishop-Ponte (St Brendan's Sixth Form College, Bristol)
An enterprising 18-year-old has won top prize at the Making Business Happen Awards, held at the University of South Wales on Thursday July 6.
The Awards, now in their third year, are designed to highlight young entrepreneurial talent, rewarding groups and individuals for their commitment and approach to developing an effective or innovative business idea. This year saw 30 entries from students across the UK. 10 entrants were shortlisted and invited to the event.
The winner was Jack Brookes, from Dudley, who applied to the competition with his business ‘SwiftShot Airborne Services’, a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) company that offers bespoke services in aerial photography, videography, surveying, inspection and security. He already has clients including Collinson PLC and Aberystwyth University, and plans to spend his £3000 prize money on a new drone and marketing.
A team from Coleg Cambria Yale, Wrexham – George Wilbraham, Gugulabazali Ndlovu & Tushar Bhatia – scooped second prize and won £1500; while the third place winners – Ben Reynolds and Jacob Bishop-Ponte – from St Brendan’s Sixth Form College, Bristol, take home £750.
In addition, all winners will receive a comprehensive business support and mentoring package from the USW Business School, as well as an award to the colleges to enable them to further their enterprise offer to students.
Speaking after the event, Jack said: “I am really pleased to win this award and have my hard work recognised.
“I have been interested in starting my own business since I joined secondary school, and I started entering competitions as soon as I could.
“Flying drones started as a hobby but soon became a business interest.
“Entrepreneurship is in my blood. Both my father and grandfather have their own businesses in the motor trade. My family are very proud of my achievements,” he added.
Professor Jonathan Deacon, of USW’s Faculty of Business and Society, said: “'Making Business Happen is an example of the ethos at the South Wales Business School, whereby we aim to not just teach business, but encourage and more importantly support it too.
“Hosted by USW Exchange, the centre for developing skills and business support at the University of South Wales, the awards are a national recognition of entrepreneurial thinking.
“This year’s finalists have all demonstrated creativity and innovation in business. Jack is a shining example of entrepreneurial spirit. The judges were impressed with Jack’s business planning detail and the clear financial success he has had so far.
“The entries just get better and better.”
Cheryl Gourlay, Natwest’s Strategic Lead for Youth Enterprise in Business, added: “As a company NatWest is renowned for its work with young entrepreneurs and we have been highly impressed by the passion, creativity and drive shown by all the students during the competition.
“Initiatives such as the Making Business Happen Awards are a vital part of the entrepreneurial landscape, celebrating those who are already on the road to success and encouraging those who are taking their first steps on the journey. I am delighted to have been involved. Congratulations to all of the finalists and the overall winner, Jack Brookes.”
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