Hopeful Havering entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to Duke of York, Prince Andrew

PUBLISHED: 15:10 03 July 2017 | UPDATED: 15:10 03 July 2017

The Duke of York with Sophia Malandraki Miller of HyperC.

The Duke of York with Sophia Malandraki Miller of HyperC.


Local start-ups and fledgling businesses were given the opportunity to impress the Duke of York with their presentation skills.

The Duke of York, Martin Broadhurst (Chairman of CEME), Daniel Knox, Joshua Beckford. The Duke of York, Martin Broadhurst (Chairman of CEME), Daniel Knox, Joshua Beckford.

Prince Andrew’s visit to the recently opened CEME Launchpad, in Marsh Way, Rainham, on Wednesday, June 28, was a part of Pitch@Palace 8.0 Start-Up Competition which offers early stage businesses the chance to present their ideas to a panel of experts.

However, in order to book a place for the finals at St James’s Palace a number of business owners and entrepreneurs had to take part in a workshop and impress the duke and industry experts - who offered tips to the hopefuls on how to improve their presentations.

Whilst only a few applicants will go on to the final round they will all become a part of the Pitch@Palace alumni network which Prince Andrew believes is a key resource for young entrepreneurs.

“There is no better way of getting the message of Pitch@Palace across to the next generation of entrepreneurs than through our alumni,” said the prince. “Pitch@Palace is a community, and we want to see that community grow.”

The Duke of York with Lee Townend of Spiralite Ductwork Solutions. The Duke of York with Lee Townend of Spiralite Ductwork Solutions.

CEME’s resident entrepreneur Georgi Georgiev said it was an honour to have the Duke of York visit the centre for the day.

“We were truly honoured to be able to welcome The Duke of York back to CEME and to the all-new CEME Launchpad Centre,” said Georgi. “Our aspirations of supporting fledgling manufacturing, engineering and technology businesses to succeed are aligned with the Pitch@Palace competition and we’re delighted to give entrepreneurs this fantastic opportunity.”

Ten of the applicants were also given six months of co-working office space and business support at the CEME Launchpad Centre.

CEME’s commercial director Tom Ashby described the royal visit as an “invaluable opportunity” for Havering entrepreneurs to “hone their pitching skills” and is looking forward to helping future start-ups and businesses.

“CEME is proud to be the home of innovation and we are excited by the opportunity to play a pivotal role in developing the next line of exciting start-ups looking to accelerate their ideas and transform the business world,” said Tom.

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