Jake Naylor, who is studying a BTEC in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship at Leicester College, has been selected as a finalist for ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ in the national Peter Jones Enterprise Academy competition.
Jake Naylor pitched his business idea to a panel that shortlisted him and three others for the finals of the National Entrepreneur of the Year competition.
Students from around the UK entered the competition and after impressing the panel from the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy with his pitch, Jake will now present to Dragon’s Den star and businessman, Peter Jones at EntFest 2019 on Friday 28 June at the University of Buckingham.
Jake has taken the first steps into setting up his business, Past 2 Present, which upcycles used textiles to produce unique products ‘with a story’. Using knowledge gained from his BTEC course and a desire to reduce the impact of textile waste from ‘fast fashion’, Jake began creating hand-crafted products that come with a card telling the new owner about the past of the product and how it has been made.
Jake Naylor commented: “Throughout the two years at the Academy, this competition has been in the back of my mind while developing my business idea into a reality. I didn’t just enter for the investment; I also entered for the experience and the chance to meet other passionate entrepreneurs and of course Peter Jones.
‘’To get through to the finals is a crazy thought. It just proves to me that people like my business and that it has potential. It has been some of the best years of my life at the Academy and to finish it off by being in the finals has just been amazing, looking back at how much I have achieved and where I am now. Business is a passion for me and I just wanted to see what their opinions were. I didn’t even realise I would make it this far.
‘’If I won the competition it would mean so much to me, my family and friends who have helped me so much throughout this process. To win would make me proud that I haven’t let them down. It would motivate me to make this business a success and show anyone that no matter what, you can do it if you fight for it! I can’t thank everyone who has helped me enough from all the business networks in Leicester, to all my family, friends and teachers.’’
Peter Gardner, Director at Cocoa Amore Limited helped Jake with his business idea and commented: “Jake is a naturally gifted entrepreneur whose business idea is something that could have a huge positive impact on the world through extending the life of products usually discarded, as well as building awareness on current environmental issues.
“It’s easy to make mistakes in business and I’ve made a lot of them myself so think that it’s important to help the next generation wherever possible to avoid these obstacles.
“It’s getting harder and harder to run a successful business and the more support given to startups, the more vibrant our high street will be in the future.”
Rupinder Drew, Business Enterprise Manager, Peter Jones Enterprise Academy at Leicester College added: “We are absolutely delighted with Jake’s success at the NEoTY competition and feel that he is every inch an entrepreneur and worthy winner/finalist of this award. Jake has never lost momentum in turning his idea into a fully formed business, and his enthusiasm and passion for upcycling has really driven him forwards.
“Jake has the ability to network with business people and build a rapport with whoever he meets. We are so very excited for what Jake will achieve in the years to come. He will be an excellent ambassador for the PJEA and for young people locally and nationally. Well done Jake, we are very proud of what you have achieved.”