From the top · 12 January 2017

Ten of the most exciting young entrepreneurs to watch

(3) Marianne Hughes, founder at social enterprise Know Label

Hughes has created a valued tool for high street retailers

At the tender age of 23, Hughes has founded a fast-growing social enterprise, launched a successful business blog, overseen one of the country’s only university-financed student entrepreneurial societies and found time to study for a year in Hong Kong.

Determined to become one of the UK’s leading young entrepreneurial lights, her venture, Know Label, attempts to provide consumers with an idea of the environmental and social impact of what they’re wearing, by creating “digital labelling” for clothing.

Retailers and brands are able to use Know Label to demonstrate to shoppers the ethically-sourced, environmentally friendly nature of their clothing – an issue of increasing importance to most consumers.

Early signs suggest Know Label will become a valuable tool for high street retailers. Since launching the venture, Hughes has struck up relationships with a number of brands, including H&M, helping to develop retail business models which communicate environmental and social concerns via clothing design and manufacturing.

An angel investment round for Know Label is set to close this summer, and Hughes has stated she expects her firm to have a team of 60 employees within five years, working with the world’s biggest fashion brands.

(4) Nicholas Shekerdemian, founder at
Headstart App

Nicholas Shekerdemian
Shekerdemian’s app is being trailed by Vodafone and Accenture

Widely touted as the future of entry-level recruitment, Headstart is an app that integrates with existing corporate recruitment systems to ensure accurate, non-discriminatory job matches.

Its matching system creates a digital neural “fingerprint” for every applicant that considers personality, interests, skills and demographic background, as well as traditional criteria such as qualifications and experience. The app’s algorithms work continually to match applicants with the best “fitting” internships and entry-level jobs.

Created by 22 year-old entrepreneur Shekerdemian while taking a break from his Oxford University degree, the platform was recently identified as one to watch in the ‘Disrupt HR’ competition at HR Tech World in Paris, and is being trialed by the likes of Vodafone, RBS, Accenture, BP and Expedia.

(5) James Gupta and Omair Vaiyani, co-founders of education tool Synap

Gupta and Vaiyani have raised £195,000 via crowdfunding

Medical students, business partners and exciting young entrepreneurs Gupta and Vaiyani launched Synap in 2015 as a revolutionary revision aid, helping students to learn more in less time.

The pair, both aged 25, quickly raised £195,000 via crowdfunding for their startup, and in 2016 Synap turned over a whopping £500,000. Over 100,000 students around the UK have used the tool to date, and user numbers are expected to jump with the launch of the Synap app in early 2017.

The business is not the first startup success story between the pair. Last year, Gupta founded JumpIn, a student taxi sharing app which he sold to Addison Lee for a cool £180,000.


(6) Amber Atherton, founder at jewellery startup My Flash Trash

Amber Atherton
Atherton will star as a judge in CBBCs Pocket Money Pitch this year

Atherton shot to stardom as an original member of the Made in Chelsea clique when the show first aired on UK TV screens in 2011, but the 24 year-old is now making headlines for her business nouse instead.

She has founded London-based accessory brand My Flash Trash, with an aim to “empower girls to run the world”, according to the company’s mission statement.

Started as a blog back in 2008 when Atherton was a student at the London College of Fashion, My Flash Trash’s range of unique and quirky jewelry items have so far been worn by the likes of Rihanna, Beyoncé, Suki Waterhouse and the Duchess of Cambridge.

With the brand currently selling around 100 pieces a day at an average cost of £38, and with recent investment from Lion Capital venture capitalists Lyndon Lee and Robert Darwent, the year ahead is set to be a big one for Atherton’s fast-growing startup.

On top of this, the entrepreneur is set to make her second TV debut in 2017, starring as a judge on CBBC’s answer to Dragons’ Den for enterprising youngsters, Pocket Money Pitch.

Which of our ten exciting young entrepreneurs is making waves with her allergen-free superfood brand? Continue reading.  

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Fred Heritage was previously deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London.