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The ‘That’s Pitchin’!’ competition for 14-19 year olds who live in Barking and Dagenham, ran in partnership with Empowered Youth, a global skills-development academy. Around 100 young people competed in a series of rounds which began in May. Over £7,000 in prizes was up for grabs including cash investment for the budding entrepreneurs.

Eight young people were selected to be in the ‘Grand Finale’ on 9th June and pitched their business ideas live in front of a panel of judges. Judges included Luke Mullens – Co-founder of Rich Kids Global and Sabrina Ben Salmi – Ranked No.2 Most Inspirational Black Women UK.

After a close-run final, the winner was announced as 19 year old Stephen Annan Junior from Dagenham, a business studies student Barking & Dagenham College,

Stephen’s innovative health and wellness business concept ‘FRESH’ is an online booking platform for haircare and skincare appointments aimed at men, which offers customers an at-home service.

In second place was Ezana Tedla age 19 from Romford With his community-based fin-tech business EKUB, and following him in third, Thomas Cooper, age 18 from Dagenham with Palatial Packet, a modern approach to gifting and packaging.

After being crowned winner, Stephen honed in on his recently learned skills: “I’m over-the-moon! This is incredible. I’ve learned so much through this competition and now with the skills I’ve learned and the support of the College I can take my business and dream to the next level. Thank you everyone!”

Stephen walks away with £5000 in prizes including £2500 business investment from Barking & Dagenham College and 6 months of one-on-one mentorship from Empowered Youth worth £2500 to help him grow his business.

“I am extremely proud of the finalists and everyone who took part in the competition. It was encouraging seeing those who took the brave step to put themselves forward and pitch live in front of judges of that calibre.”

“The aspiration that they demonstrated, for themselves and their business ideas, was visible and truly touching.”

Joy KettyleCOO of Barking & Dagenham Collage

“It was a breath of fresh-air seeing the finalists pitching all these amazing ideas. This proves that innovation and creativity is rife amongst young people.”

Dene BothaFounder & MD of Empowered Youth

The “That’s Pitchin’!” presented by Barking & Dagenham College competition will host the Grand Finale LIVE at the East London college on Wednesday 9 June May 2021 at 10h30. The event will also be streamed live on Zoom (link below) and you’re all invited to attend and help us celebrate the 2021 champions!

For more about That’s Pitchin’!For more about Barking & Dagenham CollegeFor more about Empowered Youth