Many congratulations to fifteen-year-old Asia Sylvester, representing CTS College and Trinidad and Tobago, who has won the first-ever international Future Entrepreneur of the Year title, beating off fierce competition from five other countries and bagging a $1,000 prize to help her realise her business dream.
The Future Entrepreneur of the Year finalists had all taken part in the ABE Endorsed KidsMBA entrepreneurship programme for secondary school children. Schools running the programme put their most promising young entrepreneurs through to the Future Entrepreneur final which was judged by an independent panel of business experts.
There was strong competition from around the world but when the judges’ scores were counted and verified - Asia's Dance Studio (ADCo) was a clear winner. Asia's proposition is to launch a dance studio with classes designed to provide social engagement for children and teens, supporting mental health and physical wellbeing. Her business model centres on dance classes designed to encourage socialisation as well as good physical health.
The judges were highly impressed by Asia's enthusiasm for her business idea combined with a realistic business plan. Judge Marc Ortman, chair of the Global Entrepreneurs Network UK, said, "Asia has a clear idea for her business and a realistic understanding of what it will take to set it up and deliver it. Her passion and belief in her start-up is inspiring." These sentiments were shared by the other judges, Philip Salter, Founder of The Entrepreneurs Network, and Emrys Green, Chair, Institute of Leadership and Management, with Lesley Li, CEO & co-founder of Berlin-based FinTech company U Impact, adding, "I'm impressed by Asia's ability to turn her passion into a viable business that could potentially improve the society she's living in."
On hearing the news of her win, Asia said, “Winning is always a good feeling but being selected to represent CTS College, Trinidad and Tobago by extension was exhilarating. When ADCo was shortlisted amongst ABE’s Future Entrepreneur finalists on 6th July 2022 and published internationally I was mind-blown. Here it was, my business pitch was listed amongst proposals from countries around the world like Malawi, Myanmar, Nigeria and the UK. It was a geographical awakening to some places I have never even thought about. However, on July 19th when Mr Brown (from CTS) called with the news that I had successfully secured the Top Performer position in the ABE KidsMBA. I was overjoyed and expressed my jubilation with a dance, of course!”
Ravi Ragoonath from CTS College said, “It's fantastic to host the KidsMBA at CTS College. We can observe how enthusiastic the students are in developing their company concepts from cohort to cohort. It allows for a high level of involvement in the classes given the structure of the programme and the modules. The students are eager to participate in the sessions and share their thoughts in each cohort. The business concepts that the students present, whether they pertain to the product or service industries, also pique the interest of the lecturers and judges. Every business concept is distinctive to the kids' preferences and areas of enthusiasm. In accordance with (KidsMBA founder) Prof. Mark Watson-Gandy's vision for the ABE Endorsed KidsMBA programme, CTS College is pleased to educate and empower our students.”
Rob May ABE’s chief executive added, “On behalf of all at ABE, I send our heartfelt congratulations to Asia for this fantastic and well-deserved result. I also want to pay tribute to CTS College as this is a great testament to their commitment to delivering the ABE Endorsed KidsMBA programme with the best quality teaching.”