Winner of 2021 Verizon / Unloc Young Entrepreneurs Challenge announced
Nick Cotter from Cotter Agritech wins £10,000 and business mentor package
READING, U.K. - Nick Cotter of Cotter Agritech has been crowned the winner of the 2021 Verizon/Unloc Young Entrepreneurs Challenge. The company, which specializes in a patented hardware/software solution designed to reduce chemical use in agriculture whilst also improving productivity and profitability.
Nick fought off strong competition from across Europe to win £10,000 (€11,0001) of funding plus a business mentor package and entry to the One Young World 2022 (16-19 May 2022).
The five remaining finalists pitched their business concepts to a panel of expert judges2 and guests, representing members of both the business and education sectors during the grand final held on March 1, 2022.
"Pitching is always such a nerve wracking experience, you can never escape that, it doesn't get any easier, but the key is to be confident. No one can tell your story like you can,” said Nick Cotter from Cotter Agritech. “Getting shortlisted was a huge honour, especially as the competition is across the whole of Europe. The exceptional calibre of the other finalists was a huge challenge, and it's a huge privilege to be announced the winner. I couldn't be happier!"
The four Young Entrepreneurs Challenge runners up each receive £1,000 of funding to invest in their start up business. The runners up are as follows:
Harry Gadsby (United Kingdom) - Ango: A system designed to help consumers identify sustainable consumer products as they shop online. Ango displays product specific recommendations and where possible, applies a discount to make the products cheaper and more accessible; helping to make retail a greener experience.
Naomi McGregor (United Kingdom) - Movetru: A data-driven, wearable device with sensors designed to monitor physical alignment and form. It aims to target the lower body in order to optimize performance, prevent injury and reduce physical injury recovery time.
Lisa Rossi (Italy) - SoundLence: A physical industrial headset which aims to limit undesirable surround-noise in the workplace. An algorithm ‘learns’ specific sounds to filter and which to let through, allowing the user to cancel out noises such as machinery and focus on important sounds such as speech, alarms and moving vehicles.
Alex Witty (United Kingdom) - Compound: An initiative to recycle motorsport industry waste such as tyres, and convert it into rubber filaments and resin to produce fashionable footwear via 3D printed lattice midsoles. The aim is to reduce carbon-intensive manufacturing methods, minimize material use and avoid tyres being unnecessarily incinerated which adds to environmental pollution.
“This annual challenge continues to go from strength to strength, attracting amazing talent and innovative business concepts from across Europe...I’d like to congratulate Nick for his amazing business concept and say many thanks to all of this year’s finalists for taking part. I cannot wait to see our young entrepreneurs flourish in their careers.”
Scott Lawrence, Group Vice President of Verizon Business in EMEA
The Verizon/Unloc Young Enterprise Challenge aims to encourage and attract the young business leaders of tomorrow. The competition challenges young people to consider the worlds of technology, health, the environment and sustainability, and to put forward their tech-led business idea to enrich and benefit the lives of other people.
“This annual challenge continues to go from strength to strength, attracting amazing talent and innovative business concepts from across Europe,” said Scott Lawrence, Group Vice President of Verizon Business in EMEA. “I’d like to congratulate Nick for his amazing business concept and say many thanks to all of this year’s finalists for taking part. I cannot wait to see our young entrepreneurs flourish in their careers.”
"Congratulations to our Grand Prize Winner Nick Cotter for a truly deserved win,” said Hayden Taylor, Managing Director of Unloc. “Year upon year we've seen an increasing level of entrepreneurial talent enter the competition, and I can honestly say that the sheer quality of entries this year has been phenomenal. It's really set the bar high and introduced us to some incredibly talented young entrepreneurs. Nick delivered an excellent pitch with such an inspired idea, and fought off such high quality competition from our other semi-finalists. It's been our most intense and exciting challenge yet, and we look forward to providing the mentorship and guidance to support them on their journey."
1 Euro equivalent
2 The expert panel includes Diana Scudder, Vice President Network & Field Operations, Verizon, Liam Groves, Director Account Services, Verizon, Ella Robertson McKay, Managing Director, One Young World, Claire Hughes, Board Member, Unloc and Jamie Bankhead, CEO Konglomorate Games and previous YEC winner.