Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The #IAmEnterprising Competition Comes To A Finale And We Have A Winner!

Wow! What an exciting 6 months we’ve had with the second annual #IAmEnterprising competition and last week marked the final hurdle – The Championship Finale! Our City of Liverpool College students had been building up to this all important day for weeks and weeks and finally it was upon them!

The 7 students in the final were Matt Lawson with Matt Lawson Bass, Francezka and Gabriella Bell with Choux Box Bakery, Vladislav Siksnian with his Liverpool Baltic Community Centre, Lauren Woodcock and her online business, Calamity LOL, Paul Simonsen and Furniture from Design, Kath Heavyside and Wellness with Kath and Lisa Stambuli as Lisa Stambuli Photography.

This year the #IAmEnterprising Championship Finale was held at The Women’s Organisation HQ, 54 St James Street in the Baltic Triangle. Our seven finalists were invited here to pitch their ideas in a presentation to our competition judges. 

The difficult task of judging was down to Donal Bannon, partners of headline sponsors of the competition, Morecrofts Solicitors, Jackie Williams, Enterprise Director at The Women’s Organisation, David Melvin, Relationship Manager at Natwest Bank and Joanne Austin, Digital Marketing and Engagement Coordinator at The Women’s Organisation.

The finalists had previously all attended our #IAmEnterprising Business Bootcamp back in March where they spent a full day working with a team of business experts on their business plans, looking at marketing, market research, financial forecasting and pitching, so they were all fully prepared to give great presentations to our four judges!

The day flew by as our nervous finalists waited for their turn to pitch their businesses and tell the judges why their idea was worthy of the £3000 prize package! Each finalist had 10 minutes to speak about their idea in whichever format they liked and were then grilled by the judges in a question and answer session! We couldn’t believe the incredibly high standard of these presentations, it was clear that the students knew their businesses inside and out and were prepared to tell the judges why they should be the winner!

But of course, there can only be one winner! So once the finalists had finished their presentations it was time for the judges to deliberate, all marking and decisions were made using a strict matrix style approach to ensure fairness and transparency, but even so, the decision was a difficult one to make with sure close competition.

As the students were called back into the presentation room to hear the results, the tension was palpable. Donal Bannon and Jackie Williams made the announcement. The winner of #IAmEnterprising 2016 was crowned…Matt Lawton of Matt Lawton Bass!

Matt’s idea was to develop a website providing lessons to those wanting to learn bass guitar through courses, eBooks and other resources. He gave a great presentation and had a clear business plan which he conveyed extremely well!

Matt told us: ‘I am delighted to have won #IAmEnterprising! Going through this process made me sit down and actually think about how my online following could convert into a business model. I actually said to my girlfriend, even if I didn’t win the competition that I should do this anyway. It was the first time, I’d actually sat down and wrote a Business Plan and thought about 12 month financial projection. I’ve spent a lot of time over the years being involved in music and learning about the industry, winning this competition is hopefully going to help me develop a successful and profitable business.  

Runners-Up were also awarded a £100 cash prize and the runners up were; Gabriella and Francezka Bell of Choux Box Bakery, Lauren Woodcock with Calamity LOL and Paul Simonsen with ‘Furniture from Design’

It was a tough day for the finalists, but we know that they all got something out of the process, whether that be experience of pitching, getting to know their business idea better or receiving help and support from business experts along the way.

Donal Bannon, Partner at Morecrofts Solicitors who are the headline sponsors of the competition said; ‘I do hope that all the finalists, particularly those who did not win the prize, will not be discouraged from pursuing their business ideas; after all Alan Sugar and Richard Branson both started their businesses working from home and they didn’t win any prizes!’

All of the finalists in the #IAmEnterprising Competition will continue to be supported by The Women’s Organisation and City of Liverpool College’s Enterprise Club to continue with their dreams of launching their businesses.

The #IAmEnterprising Team would like to say a big thank you to all of the finalists of the competition, our fantastic judges and our sponsors and partners; Morecrofts, City of Liverpool College, Bold Online Marketing, Pink Media Ltd and Lewis Evans Accountancy for their support throughout the competition!

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