Unloc, a social enterprise working with schools and colleges to inspire, motivate and develop entrepreneurship in young people, has for a second year joined forces with global communications & technology leader, Verizon, to launch a competition for young entrepreneurs across Europe – the Unloc Enterprise Challenge.
The Challenge invites budding entrepreneurs aged 16-25 in mainland European countries to submit their technology-led start-up business concept online. Ideas will be judged by a panel of Verizon senior leaders based on the viability of the idea, its sustainability and technological innovation. The winning entrepreneur will receive £10,000 of funding, plus a mentorship package to help get their business off the ground. The competition formally opened for applications on 1st August 2019 and closes on 15th November 2019.
Portsmouth-based Unloc has been working since 2014 to help young people to develop their entrepreneurial skills by setting up and testing their own businesses, projects and ideas. Unloc partners with schools to help run workshops and programmes dedicated to promoting entrepreneurship to young people. Unloc has expanded-rapidly in recent years from a local business ran by two young-entrepreneurs into a national operation and now has partnerships with over 100 leading schools and colleges giving it a presence across the U.K and beyond.
Verizon has a long history of supporting innovation. The company describes its purpose as to deliver the promise of the digital world by enabling people, businesses and society to innovate and drive positive change. In the United States, the Verizon Innovative Learning initiative provides next-generation technology access and innovative curricula to millions of under-resourced students to prepare them for a tech-dependent economy. In addition, Verizon 5G Labs work with local innovators to grow the 5G ecosystem, exploring the boundaries of 5G network technology, co-creating new applications and hardware, and rethinking what’s possible in a 5G world.
This new relationship with Unloc brings this focus on innovation to Europe, with the competition designed to promote self-development, technology and entrepreneurship skills amongst young people.
“We are delighted to see the Unloc Enterprise Challenge return”, said Hayden Taylor, Managing Director of Unloc. “Verizon’s focus on fostering innovation makes the company an ideal partner for the Challenge. We’re looking forward to seeing what technology-led ideas young European entrepreneurs are able to generate – and helping one lucky winner take the first step to turning their idea into a business.”
“Verizon strongly believes that by promoting entrepreneurship we can promote independence, innovation and success”, said Dyanne Ierardo, head of HR for Verizon International. “The Verizon team regularly works with schools and college groups to help students develop the business and technology skills required in the modern workplace, and working with Unloc on this competition is a natural extension of those initiatives. We’re looking forward to seeing the ideas this competition generates – and also to supporting the winning entrepreneur as they take their idea from concept to reality.”