Rabat, Morocco- 19-year-old Moroccan Walid Ijassi’s startup truning waste apples into consumer products, employing young women in the process, has won a global competition which supports young entrepreneurs. Walid Ijassi was also praised by UK Secretary of State for Business and Energy Greg Clark.
The #AdamStart Entrepreneurship Challenge is an annual business competition run by 24-year-old autistic entrepreneur and Queen’s Young Leader Adam Bradford, an event praised by the Secretary of State for Business and Energy Greg Clark MP
Today, Adam Bradford, 24, from London, unveiled the winner of his annual enterprise challenge which rewards young people with promising business ideas which change the world.
The competition, which originally launched in 2013, has supported young entrepreneurs to get started in business through a mixture of a start-up grant, mentoring and networking opportunities.
This year’s winner is 19-year-old Walid Ijassi from Morocco whose business turns waste apples into consumer products, employing young women in the process. This year was the first time the competition opened its doors to entries from across the globe and almost 30 countries were represented in the competition’s applications.
UK Secretary of State for Business and Energy Greg Clark has praised the initiative and released a statement which reads: “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and Adam Bradford’s new initiative, the Adam Start Entrepreneurship Challenge, is an inspiring competition to support aspiring young entrepreneurs looking to get their start-up ideas off the ground.
“This government believes that wherever you live and whatever your age, everyone deserves the chance to turn a great business idea into a reality and Adam’s work to encourage young, creative entrepreneurs exemplifies this spirit.”
Adam started his business aged 14 with the support of the BiG Challenge enterprise competition and has since gone on to undertake a number of roles in business and championing social causes such as autism awareness and extreme poverty. He received an award from Her Majesty the Queen earlier this year in recognition of his work. He is also an ambassador for Dragon’s Den star Peter Jones’ enterprise academies.
Upon being told the news of his win, Walid said: “It’s such an amazing opportunity that the #AdamStart Challenge has given me as a young Moroccan entrepreneur at an international level. Having received the call from the team telling me that out of more than 300 candidates I have been chosen as the winner of the challenge was just surreal and made me more confident and galvanized to take my start-up, with the help of the Challenge Team, to a global and more structured level.”
Adam himself commented: “I am so proud to be able to give my own money and expertise to the next generation in order to help them achieve their business ambitions. In light of the global youth unemployment crisis, we need more innovative entrepreneurs to tackle social problems and create an income for themselves. Walid is an exceptional young person and I am delighted to give him my backing. I can’t wait to see what he achieves next year.”
Highly commended runner up, Arinze Obiezue who lives in Mauritius, impressed the judges with his idea for a youth-led media business the Ingress Media Group. He will receive mentorship support from Adam to help grow his business. He commented: “I am very humbled to be selected as the Highly Commended Runner Up for the 2016 #AdamStart Entrepreneurship Challenge. However, I do not see this as a singular achievement. Rather, it is one which goes to the team of brilliant minds who work with me to develop Ingress Media Group to what it is now and what it is yet to become. Without them, I would not be receiving this recognition. This recognition also goes on to prove that we are never too young to achieve great things. This is the beginning of something great and I am grateful to Adam who is a quintessence of who I would like to become.”