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After the Awards: What’s next for our young entrepreneurs?

Calling all ambitious PJEA students - the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy Awards are just around the corner! The Awards are the highlight of our calendar and a celebration of the incredible work students undertake throughout the year.

The event is particularly exciting for those shortlisted for the National Entrepreneur of the Year Award, the most prestigious award available to students at the PJEA Awards. 

While you’re busy submitting your applications for the awards, we  have caught up with four of our most promising past National Entrepreneur of the Year finalists and winners - Hassan Iqbal, Dan Arundel, David Humpston and Jacob Knowles -  to see what they’re up to now.

Q: So what you have been up to since graduating from PJEA?

Dan: I’ve continued to run the bakery business I started at the PJEA, Arundel Bakery, which includes a bakery and a café. 

David: My video production company, Viewpoint Videos, offers a service that allows customers at leisure venues to buy a video of their experience, and we also run video marketing campaigns.

Hassan: I’m running my creative media agency, Creative Pixels, in Manchester. My agency helps small businesses grow by providing web and print design, social media marketing and app development services to give them a web presence. 

Jacob: Since graduating from the Academy, I put my sailing business, JK Sail, on the backburner and opened up a new print management business, Empine, in 2015. We offer commercial printing services to individuals and businesses, and we currently have clients across the UK

Q: What has been your proudest moment as an entrepreneur so far?

David: My proudest moment as an entrepreneur so far was being presented the National Entrepreneur of the Year award by Peter Jones CBE. The giant cheque is framed on my office wall! A close second was when I overheard someone in public talking enthusiastically about our product and showing one of our experience videos to their friend.

Hassan: There have been so many proud moments: moving into a new office, hiring my first employee and working with businesses that I never would have dreamt of working with before the Academy, just to name a few. 

Q: What exciting plans do you have coming up in the next year?

Dan: I’m in the process of creating packaging for my baked goods so that I can hopefully start stocking supermarkets with my products in the near future.

Jacob: The business has grown so quickly over the last few years that I’m looking to hire more employees and expand our floor space – there isn’t much room at the moment! I’m also hoping to hire my first apprentice soon.

Q: What advice would you give to students who are thinking of applying for the National Entrepreneur of the Year Award?

David: Just get on with it and apply! There were a few students who would have had a brilliant shot at winning the award, but just didn’t take the time to fill in the application form, so I’d definitely recommend it! 

Hassan: I would say that there is no reason not to apply because win or lose, you will learn so much from it. I didn’t win but look at me now! Even if you lose, you can still get feedback and move forward as a better version of yourself. 

If you’re at a PJEA college and would like to apply for the National Entrepreneur of the Year award, or any of the other awards, please speak to your tutor or BEM for more information. The deadline for entries is 5th May. 

Award categories include: 

  • Level 2 Student of the Year
  • Level 3 Student of the Year
  • Inspirational Student of the Year
  • Tutor of the Year
  • Business Enterprise Manager of the Year