Business stars of the future are praised at event

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THE entrepreneurs of the future have been honoured at an awards ceremony by the University of Portsmouth.

The Enterprise Challenge is organised by the university’s Portsmouth Centre for Enterprise every year.

It supports any student at the university who wants to set up their own company, and the awards recognise the best of the year’s ideas.

This year’s event took place at Southsea Castle, and saw three winners pick up prizes.

The first, 24-year-old Keshia Austin, was chosen for her company English Direct.

It offers help to students who need help with their English skills.

She won a work experience visit to the Kaospilot School of Entrepreneurship in Denmark and £250.

She said: ‘I’m ridiculously excited about going to Denmark.

‘I’m really looking forward to taking what I’ve learned and using it to push English Direct forward.’

The second winner was Dan Harper, whose firm InventoryBase helps landlords and letting agents produce professional tenancy reports.

He won a week’s work experience at recruitment firm Colvill Banks’ office in Singapore and £250.

The third winner was John Wheal, 19, who developed Brick 4D, a mobile game for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

It is based on a classic brick game, but takes it to a new level.

He won a week’s work experience at Colvill Banks’ office in Mumbai, India, and £250.

He said: ‘It’s a great opportunity that the university are offering.

‘I’m really glad to have been a part of it with Brick4D, and thanks to sponsors and the university for making it all happen.’

The guest speaker at the event was Gilles Mace, a winner of the Enterprise Challenge himself last year.

He is the founder and managing director of Euro-Eleven Ltd, which is a free-to-play fantasy football game made up of teams from across Europe.

He gave advice to the student entrepreneurs at the event to help them develop their business in the future.

Gilles said: ‘Don’t give up – even on your down days. Keep doing what you’re doing. You have no idea who’s watching your progress.

‘Start a business from something you are passionate in. Show dedication to your idea and don’t do it half-heartedly.

‘For a business to succeed, sometimes you need to take it to the brink of failure and really push yourself. Many of the Dragons from Dragons’ Den have experienced near-bankruptcy in trying to make their businesses work.’

There were three runners-up at the awards: Christal Clashing O’Reilly, who developed FanMapp; Stephen and Matthew Roberts, of Re:House; and Andrew Martin and team, who developed Little Kraken Games Studios.