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Bright business talent celebrated at regional awards

Entrepreneurial students from across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire have won a competition which aims to nurture West Wales’ young business talent

Five groups of entrepreneurial students from across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire have won a competition which aims to nurture West Wales’ young business talent in the regions’ thriving industries.

In its inaugural year, the Regional Enterprise Competition challenged students from Coleg Sir Gâr, Coleg Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire College to pitch a business idea to a group of judges as individuals or in groups in one of five categories – Tourism, Food, Retail, Care or the Creative Industries. The sectors were chosen as they represent the most prevalent industries across Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion.

The competition was organised by Big Ideas Wales, Enterprise Hub, Coleg Sir Gar, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire College. Big Ideas Wales is part of the Business Wales service and funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.

The Welsh Government is committed to developing an entrepreneurial culture in Wales, to inspire young people aged between 5 and 25 to develop entrepreneurial skills and start a business. Big Ideas Wales raises aspirations and support young people’s ambitions for business.

Students from Coleg Sir Gâr and Coleg Ceredigion were named winners in three categories, firstly picking up the Retail award for an online shopping site called Clover Yard which aims to champion independent clothing brands.

Another group of students from the college were named winners of the Care award for their business idea The Opal Project, environmentally friendly bracelets made from hemp and personalised with calming lavender smells, photos or opal crystals with the aim of helping those suffering with mental health problems feel calm.

Coleg Sir Gâr student Davey Hampton picked up the top prize for the Tourism category for an online service called Mobility which provides the mobility accessibility information of businesses in Carmarthenshire for the public to check before visiting somewhere.

Coleg Ceredigion student Amy Chapman was named winner of the Creative Industries category for her business idea Resinate, which recycles the resin waste product formed when manufacturing surf boards into vibrant art and jewellery, meaning it won’t end up in landfill.

Finally, students from Pembrokeshire College picked up the Food award for their business Small World, a café which specialises in serving the popular Malaysian drink bubble tea. The idea behind the business is to bring flavours from around the world to Pembrokeshire.

The winning students beat nearly 30 applicants to the top prize, taking home £150 each. To reach the final, each entrant submitted a written or video pitch bringing their business idea to life. As part of the competition process, every student was also offered the opportunity to attend business planning workshops to learn a variety of skills to help them develop their business ideas.

Held at Yr Egin in Carmarthen, the competition final included a talk from Marc Griffiths, a Big Ideas Wales Role Model and owner of StiwdioBox, a bilingual audio service aimed to motivate audiences through the use of the latest media technologies.

Becky Pask, entrepreneurship and employability co-ordinator at Coleg Sir Gâr and Coleg Ceredigion said: “This competition aims to nurture our entrepreneurs and offer them not only financial support but continued business support to help them flourish. I was thrilled with all the business ideas we received, their passion and drive is infectious. I would like to thank all our partners and sponsors for their continued support. Working in collaboration is central to transforming and developing economic development in the region and across Wales.”

Each category in the Regional Enterprise Competition was sponsored by different businesses across Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire. These were StiwdioBox in the Creative Industries category, Quay West Caravan Sales for the Tourism category, Carmarthenshire County Council for the Care category, St Catherine’s Walk in the Retail category and finally the Food category was sponsored by Food Centre Wales.