2019 Beacon Bursary winner named

THE winner of this year’s Beacon Bursary entrepreneurship competition goes to an 18-year-old who has set up an online entomology business, selling bugs and other creepy crawlies.

Cameron Reardon will receive a cash prize of £5,000, free office space for a year within the Beacon Centre for Enterprise in Dafen, Llanelli, and business mentoring support to help develop his business Bug Box UK.

The 18-year-old from Felinfoel has just completed his BTEC level three in public services at Coleg Sir Gâr and will be studying business management with marketing at Swansea University from September. “With the money I’m going to buy a shed,” said Cameron. “At the moment my stock is in my bedroom, which my mum doesn’t like! Now I’m going to be able to increase my stock and the money will also help me go to different shows to sell.”

Cameron was a finalist in last year’s competition, and said the mentoring which comes with the prize would also be very beneficial. He added: “Last year I received some mentoring and that was amazing, it’s really opened my eyes.”

Cameron was one of five entrepreneurs to reach this year’s final and get the chance to pitch their proposals to a panel of judges including Carmarthenshire Council Leader Emlyn Dole; Chris Jenkins from Gerald Thomas Accountancy; Angharad Harding from Yr Egin and the winner of last year’s competition, Amanda Thomas from Biscuit Barkery.

All five entrepreneurs who made it through to present their business ideas at this year’s final in the Beacon Centre, were students from Coleg Sir Gâr.

Second place and receiving £2,000 and six months free office space at the Beacon, went to Dante Diana and his alcohol beverage business Oddball Moonshine.

Third place and receiving £1,000 and six months free office space at the Beacon for one year, went to Imogen Mills and her swatch fabric design business Cloth.

The other finalists were Simon Thomas with his business Particip8 and Charlotte Voaden of Charlotte Voaden Design.

The Beacon Bursary is an annual competition run by Carmarthenshire County Council in partnership with Coleg Sir Gâr and University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

Council Leader Emlyn Dole, who is responsible for economic development, said: “I look forward to this competition every year. SME’s are the backbone of our businesses here in Carmarthenshire and to see the entrepreneurs come to this competition with such passion and turn those ideas into a business is a pleasure.

 

“This year’s standard of entries was high once again, but as judges we were unanimous that Bug Box UK is a great business idea and a worthy winner. I would like to wish Cameron, and indeed all the finalists, the best of luck in the future with their businesses.”

Amanda Daniels, Coleg Sir Gâr assistant principal said: "The development of effective enterprise and employability skills with learners in post compulsory education and training is so important to ensure a vibrant and successful Welsh economy.

“The Beacon Bursary has helped a number of Individuals start-up successful businesses over the last seven years.

“This year I am absolutely delighted that all three of the successful Bursary winners are Coleg Sir Gâr learners, their passion and drive to succeed is infectious and I am confident that their businesses will contribute positively to the Carmarthenshire economy."

Roger Maidment, Dean of the Faculty of Business and Management at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) said: “UWTSD would like to congratulate Cameron Reardon on winning this year’s Beacon Bursary. UWTSD is delighted to collaborate on the Beacon Bursary which is aimed at encouraging future entrepreneurs within Carmarthenshire. As a dual sector university, our mission is ‘Transforming Education, Transforming Lives’, developing employment focused educational programmes and contributing to our vision of transforming, shaping and developing futures by stimulating economic development in the region and across Wales and beyond.

“Working in collaboration on initiatives such as the Beacon Bursary Award is central to achieving this as it offers students the opportunity to demonstrate their creative and entrepreneurial skills and develop real business ideas which have the potential to contribute to the economy of the region.

“We wish Cameron the best of luck with his business and look forward to seeing the development of Bug Box UK.”