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EPIC Young Entrepreneur Awards 2023 Winners Announced

20 September 2023


EPIC Young Entrepreneur Awards 2023 Winners Announced

Nine inspirational young entrepreneurs from across the UK have been announced as winners in the second annual EPIC Young Entrepreneur Awards. The awards were created to celebrate and acknowledge the achievements of young people who have faced adversity or disadvantages and then succeeded in starting their own businesses. The evening’s celebrations were a community-focused affair with almost 100 people in attendance, including the winners and finalists joined by friends and family, other young entrepreneurs from the EPIC programme, local businesses, community supporters and sponsors, brought together at The Burlington Hotel in Birmingham.

Collage of images from EPIC Awards featuring various attendees posing and award winners bring presented with awards

The winners were:

  • Ethos Network for Community Impact Award

  • Beta Booster for Digital Disrupter Award

  • Brainy Bar Ltd. for Fresh Taste

  • The Performance Studios for Health & Wellness Champion Award

  • Art by Zakia for Inclusion Champion Award

  • One/Third Project for Inspirational Founder Award

  • Hausbots for Practical Prodigy Award

  • Marty Supplies for Judges Special Recognition Award

  • Meka Toys for Entrepreneur of the Year Award

EPIC Award with logo, category and winner on a bamboo award

EPIC, part of the Martin James Foundation, was conceived in 2018 by co-founders Ayyab and Jim Cockburn and born out of a passion and desire to empower entrepreneurial young people to realise their business dreams. Since the start, its purpose has been to close the gap that can exist for some young people due to adverse life factors and provide them with real, meaningful opportunities and the chance to fulfil their potential.

Calum Sawford, COO of the Martin James Foundation and Programme Lead for EPIC, comments:

"The awards evening was a moment of celebration and recognition, not just for the nine distinguished award winners and the runners-up, or for the over forty nominees, but for all the brave and inspiring young entrepreneurs who are, even now, shaping the future for all of us."
Calum Sawford, Marc Pearson, PJ Ellis posing together at EPIC Awards
Calum Sawford, Marc Pearson, PJ Ellis

The EPIC Young Entrepreneur Awards were supported by a variety of businesses that also share EPIC’s passion and vision for creating a fairer and more equitable society. These included the Arconic Foundation, Buckt, Hey! Food is Ready, Hype Fitness, the Martin James Network, Mills & Reeve, Ormerod Rutter, Key Assets Group EU and UK Fire Training.

EPIC’s programme delivers real-world, hands-on support to young people wanting to, or are in the process of, starting their own business. Through a structured course, EPIC provides many resources, including grant support to cover business start-up costs, access to other entrepreneurs, business mentoring, pastoral mentoring and coaching, specialist workshops and partnerships with other local organisations to enhance business networks and opportunities. To date, EPIC has helped more than 100 young people and will support 50 young entrepreneurs in the West Midlands alone this year.

EPIC is always on the lookout for businesses and supporters to help with mentoring and fundraising, as well as applications from young people wishing to join the programme. If you would like to find out more about the programme, please email

Award being presented to a winner and a shot of the table setting at EPIC Awards ceremony


Notes to editors:

About EPIC:

EPIC is a business mentoring programme, engaging and enabling young people 16-25 years of age who have experienced adversity and/or the care of a local authority, to create and launch their own business. Young entrepreneurs are given individualised mentoring, focusing on self-esteem building through to skills-based sessions on employability and group Masterclasses, which focus on key business areas such as Business and Financial Planning, Marketing and Brand design alongside specialist topics such as Web Design. Every young person within the EPIC Young Business Programme has a person-centred, individualised plan with wrap-around support and also receives financial support to cover business start-up costs.

About The Martin James Foundation:

Established in 2018, The Martin James Foundation is a global network of charitable organisations working with a shared vision of a world in which children grow up and thrive in safe and loving families, and they are working to deliver, empower and influence work to make this a reality. The Foundation includes independent fostering agencies in Australia, Canada, Japan and New Zealand (Key Assets), support to foster carers in the UK (FosterTalk), and projects that contribute to the global efforts in deinstitutionalisation.

For more information, please contact:

Kara Cousins-Kamari, Head of Communications & Advocacy

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