Press Release

Verizon has for a third year joined forces with Unloc to launch a competition for young entrepreneurs across Europe.

The Young Entrepreneurs Challenge invites budding European entrepreneurs aged 16-25 to submit their technology-led start-up business concept online. A panel of Verizon senior leaders will judge ideas based on their viability, sustainability and technological innovation. The winning entrepreneur will receive £10,000 of funding, plus a mentorship package and access to pro bono services to help get their business off the ground. In addition, all finalists will receive a cash injection of £1,000.

The competition formally opens for applications on 1st October 2020, and closes on 22 January 2021.

Verizon has a long history of supporting innovation. The Verizon 5G Labs, six of which are based in the US and one in the UK, 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. In addition, the Verizon Innovative Learning initiative in the US provides free connectivity, devices and innovative curricula to millions of under-resourced students to prepare them for a tech-dependent economy.

This competition brings this focus on innovation to Europe, with the objective of promoting self-development, technology and entrepreneurship skills amongst young people.

Portsmouth-based Unloc is a social enterprise on a mission to empower young people to be innovative change makers. Since 2014, the organisation has been working to help young people develop their entrepreneurial skills by setting up and testing their own businesses, projects and ideas. Unloc helps run entrepreneurship workshops and programmes in schools and colleges, and now has partnerships with over 100 institutions in the U.K and beyond.

“For Verizon, promoting entrepreneurship is about promoting 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.”

“We are delighted to see the Challenge return”, said Hayden Taylor, Managing Director of Unloc. “We believe this competition provides a valuable platform where young people can promote their creative business ideas, and we’re looking forward to helping one lucky winner take the first step to turning their idea into a business.”

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