Local Entrepreneur Triumphs in National Start-Up Competition

TestTown Winner

TestTown Winner

A young entrepreneur from Huddersfield has triumphed at one of the UK’s largest entrepreneurial competitions, taking home the top prize of £10k to invest in his artisan liqueur company, Panda’s Kitchen. His business concept has also caught the eye of a luxurious London department store that is keen to stock his products.

Stephen Bond, 25 from Huddersfield has won the national TestTown competition. The competition provides young people with access to vacant high street units to allow them to showcase their new business ideas. It has become one of the UK and Ireland’s biggest accelerator programmes for young entrepreneurs with fresh ideas for rejuvenating the country’s town centres.

The final of TestTown took place in Glasgow at the end of February and saw 18 entrepreneurs showcase 12 start-up business ideas in retail spaces across just three days.

Stephen impressed judges with his business acumen and fresh approach to marketing his business.

Stephen said:

I am feeling absolutely elated after winning the competition. It’s a fantastic feeling to know that all of my hard work has paid off but I never thought in a million years that I would take home the ten thousand pounds in funding, especially when there were so many other worthwhile businesses competing.”

Stephen, who already rents a small shop on the ground floor of the Byram Arcade in Huddersfield city centre, now plans to invest the money in new equipment so that he can make the liqueur products more efficiently.

He said:

At the moment, I make all of my products at home and it can take me around one to two weeks to make my chilli liqueur. With a better filter, I could do this in as little as 30 minutes. The prize money will therefore make a big impact on improving my supply chain.

I’ve also had some interest from a London department store, that wants to stock my products, so this is a very exciting opportunity and who knows where it will lead to.”

In the last three years, the TestTown competition has injected over £250,000 into 100 start-ups and supported more than 200 entrepreneurs.

Jim Metcalfe, TestTown Programme Leader at The Carnegie UK Trust, said:

TestTown is all about supporting our next generation of business leaders and Stephen’s drive and ambition towards making a success of his company made him a very worthy winner.

Our support for Stephen doesn’t end now. We will be on hand for him during this next phase of his business journey which we’ve no doubt he’ll make a big success of.”

Each TestTown finalist had previously performed outstandingly in their respective regional heats. These took place last summer in: Walthamstow, Carrickfergus, Enniscorthy, Falkirk, Perth, Ellesmere Port, Great Yarmouth, Huddersfield, Heanor, and Bridgend.

Want to know more?

Find out what TestTown is all about and see how you can get involved next year by visiting TestTown’s website.

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