Five European entrepreneurs become finalists for Verizon / Unloc challenge


The Verizon / Unloc Young Entrepreneurs Challenge, an annual online tech-entrepreneurship competition for young people across Europe, has announced the five finalists who will compete for the competition’s £10,000 Grand Prize, which also includes funding, mentorship and a technology package.

The finalists will pitch their ideas live to a panel of expert judges in the Grand Final to be held virtually on 25 February 2021.

The finalists named are:

Tash Grossman (UK): Slip – a smartphone application which aims to remove the barriers to e-receipt adoption by leveraging new technologies and eliminate the need for paper receipts.

Imogen Maguire (UK): PowerNow – helping to enable Electric Vehicle (EV) owners to list fees/locations for other drivers to use their home charging point.

Jonas Kerber (Germany): Pina – aiming to digitalise the manual process of forest certification to make it accessible to more forest owners. Through the use of remote sensing technology, they aim to accurately measure and track forest carbon stocks for more sustainable forestry.

Rowan Armstrong (Ireland): BioLiberty – an assistive robotic glove which strengthens grip for those suffering hand weakness as a result of Arthritis, MS, MND, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Strokes. This uses technologies such as Machine Learning, Biomedical Digital Signal Processing and Advanced Robotics.

Tyrell Pantophlet (Spain): Plaex – aims to revolutionize the waste chain by creating smart recycling bins that automatically sorts waste for processing.

The Verizon/Unloc Enterprise Challenge aims to encourage and attract the business leaders of tomorrow.

The Grand Final will see the finalists compete head-to-head, pitching their business concept live online to a panel of expert judges and over 100 invited guests representing both business and education.

Judges include Kate Robertson (Founder of One Young World), Rod Edwards (Board Member at Unloc), John Williams (Marketing Director & CMO – EMEA, APAC & LatAm at Verizon Business), Val Agnew (Associate Director Global Accounts EMEA and Benelux Region at Verizon Business) and Chloe Swycher (Director of Marketing & Digital Innovation at The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust).

The winner will receive a £10,000 Grand Prize, funding, mentorship and a technology package in order to launch their business. Finalist runners up will each receive £1,000 of funding for their start up business.

“We have seen a great response to our challenge this year and are inspired by the level of entrepreneurship we are seeing from young people from across Europe,” said Dyanne Ierardo, Human Resources Director for Verizon in EMEA & APAC. “We really believe that activities such as these can help promote independence, innovation and success in future generations. We’re looking forward to the grand final and can’t wait to witness the ideas in action. We’d like to thank all the entrants for their passion and business ideas.”

It’s truly a fantastic opportunity for young people to get their business ideas off the ground and their start-up plans into action.

“This year we’ve seen an overwhelming response to the challenge, with our highest number of entries yet from across Europe,” said Hayden Taylor, Managing Director of Unloc. “This demonstrates a real shift in the way young people are considering and planning for their futures. At a time when they may be cut off from their friends or social activities they’re taking their career prospects into their own hands. We’ve been blown away by the sheer passion and determination we’ve seen in this year’s entries. It’s going to be our most interesting competition yet.”