Young App2Chat resellers scoop £50k business prize

Two young Croydon entrepreneurs and App2Chat resellers, have secured a £50,000 prize for being the best young business minds in the region.

Laurence Grant and Robert O'Sullivan beat off dozens of competitors to be crowned the winners of Young Start-Up Talent Croydon 2016.

In what was one of the final events at Fairfield Halls before its closure for redevelopment, Laurence and Robert were announced as winners at a ceremony on July 7.

Laurence said: "We are so thrilled to have been chosen as this year's Croydon winner, this experience has been invaluable and the year head looks very exciting."

The initiative whittled down the applicants to the final four pitches, before a Dragons' Den-style evening of impressing a panel of seven judges, who decided the winner.

Robert and Laurence successfully pitched Shaking Hands Interactive Partnership (SHIP), a platform for Croydon-based small-medium business owners to inform, smarten and grow their businesses.

In the final last month, they faced Kurtis Peck, 17, Serena Evans, 16 and 22-year-old duo Harry Flaherty and Maddie Ellison.

At the winners' ceremony at Fairfield, the applicants and audience heard from last year's winner, Stephanie Kane, and the winner of Kent's Start-Up Talent award, Dean Day.

Fellow speaker and judge Simon Maddox, an accountant at Owadally and King, said: "It's been incredible working with these guys, seeing their enthusiasm and seeing a great idea flourish. Stephanie's story this year has just been amazing and to be part of it is heart-warming."

Fellow judge Mark Burgess, from Natwest, said: "They've all got excellent ideas, I think they all presented perfectly and I'm sure they'll all go on and move on to bigger and greater things in whatever path they choose."

Annabel Fogden of The Croydon Chamber of Commerce added: "It's a really inspiring, creative and supportive process which is great for young people in business."

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