“Everyone in this room is going somewhere,” said one young entrepreneur as The Side Hustle Initiative 2021 was brought to a close.
It seemed almost a given that the competition to find the best ‘side hustle’ from a cohort of brilliant teenage entrepreneurs would be inspiring. That would turn out to be an enormous understatement. To be frank, things even got quite emotional at points.
The competition – conceived by Danny Heath, founder of YourGamePlan, and on which we were partnered with YourGamePlan and the ACCA – was to find the best business ideas from a shortlist of 25 finalists. The finalists were 14-18-year-old young entrepreneurs with superb ideas, many of which were already turning a profit, and all vying for a share of a £10,000 investment fund and six months’ worth of business mentoring opportunities.
Danny Heath explains more in this video.
The finalists presented their ideas in a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style pitch setup to judges including finnCap CEO Sam Smith, CFO Richard Snow, and Co-Head of Corporate Finance Christopher Raggett.As it happened, the ideas were so good on the day the judges had no choice but to increase the prize fund to get more of them started. The top 5 finalists and 12 runners up shared an even bigger investment fund of £15,000 towards growing their business, and all 25 entrants will receive one-to-one professional mentoring to support them in evolving their ideas.
The winning ideas
The overall winner was the brilliant Benjamin Adegoke, of St Angela’s Ursuline School, and founder of BEN3D, an advanced yet affordable 3-D printing solutions service. Ben wowed the judges with his ideas, complete professionalism and exceptional presentation skills.
Indeed, if there was one thing that really astounded from The Side Hustle Initiative 2021, it was its diversity of thought.
BEN3D wasn’t the only application of new technology in an innovative way. We also saw future-looking retail ideas; thoughts in the gig economy; social and wellbeing solutions; and social enterprises that really put the stamp on entrepreneurialism as a force for good.
finnCap ESG Bursary
Additionally, and as a result of The Side Hustle Initiative, we launched the finnCap ESG Bursary – an annual fund which will be awarded to support, help and develop a not-for-profit business or individual who is doing amazing work in helping communities or the environment. finnCap was immensely proud to award the inaugural ESG Bursary to ‘New Beginnings’ - formed by two young refugees with an incredible story of coming to this country, who turned their experiences into a centre and hub helping other young people like them coming to the UK.
Starting your own business and becoming an entrepreneur often seems unachievable. It is perceived as if you can only be successful if you start off with a wealth of money and relevant networks or mentors. With Youth Employment UK reporting that 55% of respondents had never had a discussion about starting a business as a future career option at school, it is clear young people are missing the advice and support to take this path.
The Side Hustle Initiative is aiming to break the rhetoric of traditional entrepreneurs. An entrepreneur can be an artist selling pieces of work; or making positive social change by raising money or awareness; or using social media to create new industries. The ideas came out in their droves on competition day. The Side Hustle Initiative hopes to help further the careers of the business leaders of tomorrow through our mentoring scheme and funding pot. As well as this, it was an opportunity to network and learn from individuals whose experience and journeys are hoped to inspire and improve their chances of having a successful future.
A snapshot of the future
Our congratulations go out to all the fine young business minds that presented at the 2021. You truly represent a most promising, thriving economic future for the UK, and it was a privilege to be a part of helping you on that first step on the business ladder to success.
If this is even a snapshot of what the UK’s future economy looks like, the future is indeed bright.
We are definitely going somewhere.