TransferWise has been on a Europe-wide hunt to find the twenty most talented young founders across the continent aged 16-19. Spanning eight nationalities, their businesses range from self parking wheels, drones, teaching apps and plantable greeting cards. The finalists were selected by some of Europe’s leading entrepreneurs, including TransferWise co-founder and chairman Taavet Hinrikus, Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstrom and Innocent Drinks co-founder Adam Balon.
All the winners receive expert mentoring, £1 million worth of fee-free international payments with TransferWise for Business, and a top network of contacts, following an all expenses paid trip to London. Here, the top five finalists each pitched to Taavet Hinrikus for the ultimate prize: £10,000 no strings attached investment.
The winner was Aimee Clint, aged 18 from Northern Ireland. Her business is Books By Stellas CIC, creating informative, charitable books raising awareness of autism. Inspired by her personal experience having a younger brother with the condition, Aimee became determined to break the stigma surrounding autism and other SEN via her easy to follow, illustrative guides.
The other expert judges include Phoebe Hugh, CEO & founder of Brolly, Suzanne Shaw, partner at LocalGlobe, Tijen Onaran, CEO, Global Digital Women / founder, FemaleOneZero, Robin Wauters, founding editor, Tech.eu and Rose Dyson, CEO & founder, Pura Cosmetics.
This year’s competition is the second year of 20 Under 20, following the success of 2018 winner Rose Dyson, CEO of Pura Cosmetics. She has since used the angel investment to open her first store selling ethical, affordable beauty lip balms.
The remaining top five are:
1. Timo Timmi, 19, Estonian, 99math - Maths games and competitions to help teachers motivate children to learn the subject and find it more enjoyable.
Tijen Onaran, CEO, Global Digital Women / Founder, FemaleOneZero said: Timo has understood that the beginning of digitalization and MINT professions start in school and the teachers have a great impact on this. Nobody should underestimate gamification at school. I think we should support Timo because he supports the younger students to understand how great math can be so that they can make their own decision if they want to start a career where that is involved or not.
2. Marco Palacios, 19, Spanish, Sideways - Has created 360 degree wheels for parking wheelchairs and cars.
Adam Balon, co-founder Innocent Drinks said: This is an articulate explanation of innovative technology with clear use cases and exciting potential outlined.
3. Jordi van der Meijden, 19, Dutch, KlusmetPlus - A website connecting the elderly with younger generations, who wish to help out by completing tasks more difficult to do as you get older.
Suzanne Ashman, Partner at LocalGlobe said: Enabling young people to earn small wages by helping elders perform tasks they could not easily do alone. Whereas many of the businesses seem to encourage building online communities, this is encouraging the strengthening of offline communities by connecting younger generations to older, more isolated members of their community.
4. Fabienne Overbeek, 18, Dutch, Grow a Wish - Recyclable, ethical greetings cards made of paper that can be regrown when planted.
Phoebe Hugh, founder & CEO of Brolly said: A creative idea for gifts and can see this catching on. I like how Fabienne would like mentoring in storytelling, which i think if mastered, would work well with her brand.
You can see the full list of our 20 Under 20 here.
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