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Bootcamp to Business Blog 2017

As another successful Bootcamp weekend draws to an end it is time to reflect on the event and the empowerment it has ignited in the young entrepreneurs attending – all 35 of them.

Bootcamp to Business took place from 3rd – 5th March, 2017, in Betws-y-Coed, North Wales. 35 successful young entrepreneurs from across Wales were selected to attend the weekend in order to develop their business ideas through expert advice and support. They also had the opportunity to pitch to a panel of judges for a chance to receive additional support to accelerate their development.

Throughout the weekend, our young entrepreneurs evolved, adapted and strengthened their ideas, grew in confidence and character, and learnt new skills that will help to take them from Bootcamp to Business in the near future!

The weekend was bursting with stimulating workshops led by inspiring guest speakers and entrepreneurs offering stories of success from the people who have been there and done it; experienced individuals with a passion for inspiring the next generation. 

The weekend began with an icebreaker networking session provided by our dedicated entrepreneur Role Models, Annette Gee, from Taskforce Paintball, and the amazing George Savva, founder of It takes…7 seconds Ltd. Both played a key role at the Bootcamp and were on hand throughout the whole weekend offering words of encouragement. Annette wrote of her experience: 

“WOW...... what an amazing weekend! Thank you bootcampers for all the amazing input, wonderful presentations, pitches, superb ideas, and all the energy and inspiration. Keep positive and keep dreaming...”


Following the Icebreaker session, Friday’s workshops included inspirational speaker, Tansy Rogerson from Armadillo Events, who expressed some words of wisdom, “the only person stopping you is you”.





Josh Barnett from Simply Do Ideas, an online platform to support development of your business plan, highlighted the importance of creativity.

Chris Walker from People Systems International professed the importance of teamwork during his session about personality, “a team is defined as being committed to a common purpose – teams are the engine to the business”.

The weekend encompassed all aspects of business, from social media, marketing and selling to the more basic and fundamental lessons to be learnt, the backbone of business that are so often overlooked.

Saturday began with a session by Kathryn Penaluna, Enterprise Manager at University of Wales Trinity St David, who talked about Intellectual Property. This was followed by a workshop on Accessing Finance with Owain Williams from Natwest. Chris Walker returned with a session on Marketing your Product, emphasising the importance of visualising your business in the future in order to stay ahead of the game.


In the afternoon, Gaz Thomas discussed Social Media and Digital Presence through his personal story of trial and error when creating his hugely successful web games.

In true George Savva style, he began his session, Describing and Selling Your Product, with an insightful metaphor, “you cannot sell strawberries and cream to a fish”, encouraging our young entrepreneurs to find their target audience, to learn from their mistakes, and to try something different and to move on. 

Attendees enjoyed some downtime at Zip World Forest before beginning the all-important Pitching workshops led by another Role Model, Stifyn Parri, MR PRODUCER. Stifyn ignited a confidence and a drive in our young entrepreneurs ready for their penultimate day at Bootcamp. One of the attendees wrote of Stifyn: 

You were fabulous, thank-you for all the lessons that I will now also use in everyday life not just in front of a pitch panel. The change I saw in some people this weekend due to your talks was awesome, truly remarkable. I hope you realise the importance of your lessons. 



It was wonderful to see ex-Bootcampers from previous years attend the weekend to offer support and guidance from their own experience of going from Bootcamp to Business; Emily Farr was on-hand throughout the whole weekend and provided evening entertainment with her company Rewired Music. Jamie Hunt, from Dakona and Connor Western, HummingBird Creative Productions, , were our official videography and photography for the event.

While some groups pitched their business ideas, Alice Murray from Giggles and Games, and Sid Madge from Mad Hen conducted sessions on Effective Networking and ”What Makes Me, Me?. During the pitches, our young entrepreneurs asserted their confidence, stepping outside of their comfort zones and put their new knowledge to practice.

After the pitches, the event culminated in a buzzing awards ceremony presented by Stifyn Parry and guest speaker, the incredibly inspirational Sean Taylor, founder of Zip world, who proved through his story, that hard work and determination makes anything possible.

What a weekend! It was so uplifting to see passionate and determined young people starting on their journeys to success.  One of the most valuable aspects of the weekend was the connections, collaborations and relationships that were formed and continue to blossom.

Winners on the day

  • Best Pitch - David Vaughan, Dave's Quails, Neath Port Talbot College
  • Most Innovative idea - Beatrice Amucha, Net-less, St Davids College
  • Best Bootcamper - Sam Hamill, Big on Fish, Bangor Uni

“Just a thank you to everyone! It was great to know that there are other people out there in the same boat as me!” – David Vaughan

We asked what people thought of the weekend...

  • Stiffyn Parri, Speaker “Well I'm still buzzing. What a brilliant and inspiring weekend. Thank you all for making it what it was- truly memorable. Congrats to all of you, and working with you was a real honour. Remember never do the walk of death, never speak in the 1st voice and never stop believing that you absolutely CAN! You nailed it. Hope to see you and work with you again soon”
  • Sam Allen (Business Advisor) "Well guys, what an amazing weekend it's been. I can honestly say I'm blown away by the effort you have all put in, the enthusiasm you've shown and the fantastic people I've had the pleasure of working with. Can't believe how much you've all achieved, it's definitely been a weekend to remember. What an inspiring bunch you are. I'd like to say a huge thank you to you all, without everyone's dedication this wouldn't have been possible. Keep up the outstanding work. I'm so proud of you all; thank you all for giving me even more reasons to love my job. And remember if you ever need some guidance, help or just someone to talk your ideas out with we're all here to help you."
  • Eleri Lewis "I am so glad to have experienced your enthusiasm, commitment and creativity. And remember, although Bootcamp ended at 4.00pm yesterday afternoon, the support continues so please get all you can out of this opportunity."
  • David Bannister "I would just like to thank you all for your hard work and commitment over the weekend. I was genuinely blown away by not only the effort you put in, but also by seeing you all grow. The changes I saw in some of you was absolutely amazing. To me you are all winners."


  • Kyle Bloor, Sigweb "Follow your dreams guys, never give up and one day you will enjoy the fruits of your labour"
  • Bethan Maria Germain, Magic Garden Event Face Painting "Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the North Wales ‘big idea's' Bootcamp! What a hive of fresh outlooks and new and exciting concepts for our next generation of Welsh business! A huge diolch yn fawr for having me and magic garden events!"
  • Dave Taylor "Thanks everyone, especially the speakers and all staff who helped run the weekend. I didn't think I’d come back as inspired and excited as I have done. The contacts I’ve made will be invaluable and the experience itself was incredible. It was so refreshing to be around other people who share the same passion and enthusiasm for building their own businesses"


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