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Dagenham teenager wins £2,500 in business competition with barber app

£7,000 in prizes was up for grabs (Credit: @DeneBothaSA)

A 19-year-old from Dagenham has won £2,500 in a local business contest. 

Nearly 100 students entered the That’s Pitchin’! competition, which was organised by Barking and Dagenham College in partnership with Empowered Youth

Stephen Annan Junior’s idea “Fresh” would allow people to arrange for a barber to come to their home through a mobile phone app.

“The inspiration came from Uber Eats and how they don’t own restaurants but are able to connect customers and restaurants,” he explained. 

Fresh would also offer skin care services and act as a “middle man” between customers and barbers. 

Participants took part in a series of workshops throughout the competition so even those who did not win still benefitted from the experience. 

“We did a workshop about body language and presentation skills that helped and I was able to use that during my presentation,” explained Stephen. 

He said he was “super nervous” before going in front of the judges and “woke up thinking I might as well not go”. 

“I felt like I was going to embarrass myself but then my friends told me to go so I was like ‘why not? I might as well give it a try.’ 

“After the first tier I started getting more comfortable and as soon as I started talking it just started flowing and I wasn’t nervous anymore.”

Stephen is planning to use his prize money to launch Fresh and develop the app and website.

He has also won a personal mentorship from Empowered Youth which will provide him with more guidance. 

Host Dene Botha said Stephen was a worthy winner. 

“His concept, his presentation style and just his general laid back attitude as to how he is going to dominate the health and wellness industry was just fantastic to see, it was like a breathe of fresh air when he stood up on stage,” he said.

Dene thinks we are living in a time that is “rife for entrepreneurship”. 

“What do entrepreneurs do? We find problems and solve them. At the moment there are more problems around us than we have ever seen before.” 

He thinks people will see many of the businesses pitched during the competition on the high street on online. 

Empowered Youth are now aiming to make That’s Pitchin’ an annual event. 

They are looking for a corporate sponsor to help take it to other colleges and universities. 

For more on this story, and the latest on our other local and national news, listen to Time 107.5FM

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