Teenager's idea for juice bars bears fruit

A teenager has been getting a taste for the world of business after winning a competition for aspiring entrepreneurs.

A teenager has been getting a taste for the world of business after winning a competition for aspiring entrepreneurs.

And Glyn Connolly has picked up some top tips from entrepreneur Steven Bell after the 17-year-old's idea for health cafes and juice bars won the Biz Idol U18 competition - in Business Week Tyne and Wear last month.

As part of his prize, the Washington teenager will get support and guidance from Mr Bell, 30, who set up studentmobiles.com when he was a teenager and now runs £130m- turnover computer parts business Mobilx in Newcastle.

Glyn met Steven at Jesmond Dene House Hotel for what was planned to be `tea with a tycoon' which turned into a more healthy `smoothies with a start up' as Glyn showed Steven his business plan over some healthy drinks and fruit snacks.

He said: "I was really looking forward to meeting Steven, not only to thank him for his generous prize but also to talk to someone who has been in my situation and made a success at a young age."

Mr Bell, who added a pocket PC to Glyn's package of prizes which also included £250 cash, dinner with the Entrepreneur's Forum panel and a helicopter ride, said he has been really inspired by the Biz Idol Under-18 contestants.

"When I found out about the competition, I was really pleased to see the up-and-coming entrepreneurs of the North-East who are still at school are getting support and encouragement to make their dreams a reality," he said.

"I myself started to develop my business at a young age, and I did a Young Enterprise programme at school, just like Glyn. He has a sound business head on young shoulders and I have helped him fine-tune his business plan in order to attract the investment he needs, as I myself have been through the nerve-wracking process of venture capital raising.

"I will be keeping a close eye on his progress, and will be supporting him as he takes the business to the next level and hopefully opens his first juice café-bar very soon." The competition was part of Business Week Tyne & Wear - a North-East Chamber of Commerce initiative working with a number of public and private sector organisations and funded through the TyneWear Partnership from One NorthEast, which took place in early July.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer