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After a hard fought contest, Shawn Khorassani announced the winner of Coras 2015 at a glittering gala evening on 7th May at Hilton Newbury Centre Hotel.

This year the three finalists Avanatta, Scentrel and International Oils and Gums competed for the potential investment pot of up to £50,000, a £1,000 cash prize and 6 months mentoring from Shawn. After a closely fought contest International Oils and Gums was named the winner. However, there was a definite twist this year. Given the high quality of applicants Shawn decided to offer all three finalists the opportunity of each tapping into a £50,000 investment pot.

Dr Ahmed Ali, Director of International Gums and Oils said “The whole process has been brilliant for us – it has really made us focus on our product and the support and good will that we have received from everyone – including the Coras team has been first rate. It has been a nerve racking ride to get this far but we are overwhelmed with the result – particularly when we have been up against such great competitors right through the process. “The investment will be vital but the mentoring and support from Shawn – someone who has been there and understands the pitfalls – will be incredible. All round this has been a great night for us.”

There was an exceptionally high standard this year – with patents flying about the room. Ben Myers of MWS Media said “This year it felt that Coras really came of age. We have been involved with the event since the beginning and we have seen it grow and develop. The finalists this year had a real entrepreneurial edge and any one of them could have been a worthy winner”. Rhian Begg of Coras said “To make this event work you have to have three key ingredients – great applicants, great supporters and great guests who understand what Coras is trying to achieve and support the concept. Every year we achieve this because we get the mix just right. ”

The Coras event enables networking but beyond that – and more importantly – it exists to support and develop new business. The enthusiasm and commitment from all the applicants has been vital in making this event a success. The fact that Shawn decided each applicant has the opportunity of getting up to £50,000 investment each shows how close the contest was this year.

Sam Farmer, General Manager of the Hilton Hotels Newbury, host and sponsor of the event said “We are proud to be associated with Coras – it is a key feature of the business calendar in Newbury, supporting new business development.”  In addition to the main sponsor, Hilton, Coras draws on a wealth of experience from the team who support them year in and year out publicising and promoting the organisation – all based in Newbury. Big Print, Keeps Printing and Media Fusion have been key in designing and delivering the look and feel of this year’s event. Harrison Green, florists and Bills – a new restaurant in Newbury – also joined the team this year.

Charles Lucas Marshall Solicitors, Arieso, Advoco Solutions, Newbury Rugby Football Club and MWS Media have joined with West Berkshire Council, Thames Valley Partnership and Berkshire Media Group in recognising the value of Coras and in supporting the event.

Hemant Amin of Charles Lucas Marshall said “As a supporter of Coras from its first year – and of the business community in and around Newbury – it is always a pleasure to come to this event and to experience the excitement and the buzz in the audience and the finalists. The real time competition is what gives it the edge. The presentations were crisp, interesting and professional – all round, an entertaining evening with excellent well deserving finalists.”


International Oils & Gums Limited

The winners – Dr Abdi Adam (International Oils and Gums Ltd), Shawn Khorassani (Coras) and Dr Ahmed Ali (International Oils and Gums Ltd).








We are all Winners

The finalists – Dr Ahmed Ali, Abdi Adam (International Oils and Gums), Ron Jones, Melodie McKenzie-Jones (Scentrel Ltd), Georgina Pursey, Richard Pursey (Avanatta), Shawn Khorassani (Coras).












2015 Gala Evening


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Coras Announces their three finalists for 2015

Coras 2015 has announced their three finalists for its award ceremony on 7th May at the Hilton Newbury Centre. Coras, sponsored by Hilton, is in its third year and this year they have had more applicants than in previous years and the standard has been consistently high.

“The fact that more entrepreneurs than ever have come forward tells me that innovation, creativity and keen business sense are alive, well and thriving.” said Shawn Khorassani – the man behind Coras.

Companies have to go through a rigorous process to be selected as finalists – first they submit a 1000 word synopsis, this is then followed up by interview before the last three are chosen. On the night, each finalist will give a 5 minute presentation before the winner is chosen by Shawn at the end of the evening.

The prize is substantial – a £50,000 investment opportunity for the winner, 6 months mentoring from Shawn and a cash prize of £1,000.

“It is great to see the enthusiasm and the ideas that are out there – and to be given the chance to support them and help them develop. May 7th is going to be a great night for start ups and for networking – and basically for having a good time with great people who are interested in developing ideas for the future”.


 The three finalists are:




Avanatta is a collaborative video making application with a social networking wrapper. Users add their videos to those made by others to create a film that can be watched back, added to, and shared across the social web.

Avanatta has a range of social responsibility features. Users earn nattaCoins (Avanatta’s  currency) which they can use to buy digital products such as downloads and digital vouchers. Users can buy digital gifts for themselves or send them as digital presents to friends and followers. They can also donate their coins to the Avanatta Foundation which cashes them in and donates to socially responsible causes.




__Scentrel Ltd (CANDLE & FLY IMAGE) LOGO-page-001


Scentrel was set up in 2008 to develop a pesticide for the 3rd world to help combat malaria. The present system is a humble candle which, when lit, transfers the thermal energy of the flame to the organic insecticide which has been infused into a porous ceramic disc. Once the disc is heated it diffuses the formulae safely into the atmosphere without the customary harmful toxins of sprayed to air products.

The company has forged a business partnership with one of the foremost insecticide companies in the UK, Agropharm Ltd. Together they have developed a unique, organic formula of insecticide which incorporates pyrethrum – a naturally occurring by product of the African chrysanthemum flower. Exhaustive independent DEFRA accredited studies showed proven kill rates of up to 90% and the products were then HSE approved.  The pyrethrum insecticide is safe for use around children and pets. It is presently being offered in 14 different pest control products and will be going on general sale in May 2015 in the UK and selected territories in the European Union.


Logo for International Gums & Oils Limited

International Gums & Oils Limited

International Gums and Oils Limited (IGO) is a natural products based company supplying the fragrance and flavours industry with high value oleoresins, such as those from frankincense, and its waste products.  Their plan is to manufacture essential oils; to convert waste products, into natural products which are in high demand by the flavour and fragrance industry of Europe and the USA; and create innovative new products from African and Asian plants.

Coras is a platform for Shawn Khorassani to help nurture business talent and bring his years of experience to companies and individuals who have the vision to leave a lasting legacy through the creation of well-run and successful enterprises.

This is reflected in the companies that are supporting Coras this year and Shawn is delighted with the calibre and the level of support he has received. “Every year I think we cannot get better and every year the momentum seems to build. I am really excited about this year’s event because of the standard of the applicants that we have so far – and the businesses who have come on board with us – because they recognise that Coras is an excellent platform for them to grow their business and make new contacts.”

In addition to the main sponsor, Hilton, Coras draws on a wealth of experience from the team who support them year in and year out publicising and promoting the organisation – all based in Newbury. Big Print, Keep Printing and Media Fusion have been key in designing and delivering the look and feel of this year’s event.

Charles Lucas Marshall Solicitors, Advoco Solutions – an IT company based in Thatcham, Newbury Rugby Football Club and MWS Media have joined with West Berkshire Council, Thames Valley Partnership and Berkshire Media Group in recognising the value of Coras and in supporting the event.

Shawn is looking forward to selecting the winning Coras applicant on 7th May at the Hilton Newbury Centre. He says “Coras is more than just a networking event – it is an event with substance. We support new business by selecting a business that we can support and nurture. £50,000 is a lot of investment for a small business and this, together with 6 months of mentoring, can take them to the next level. The competition between our finalists on the night – when they will each give a presentation to the room – is brilliant experience for them and makes an entertaining and exciting centrepiece for our supporters and their guests. It is a great thing to be part of.”

Paul Hampson, Managing Director of Advoco Solutions said “this is the first time we have been involved with Coras and we see it as an excellent opportunity for us. We see the benefit of networking locally as we feel this is a great opportunity to make links with local businesses – as many of our contracts are further afield. It is also interesting and exciting to be involved with an organisation that is committed to new business. We were all new businesses once and benefited from people having faith in our vision and future.”

Emma Allen, Executive Director of Newbury Rugby Football Club said “Coras ticks all the boxes for us. It establishes great links with local businesses and means that we are supporting the local businesses as well. We see ourselves being very much at the heart of Newbury’s business and social life – Coras will help us do this. In the first year we were involved in a limited capacity but we are delighted to be a supporter this year.”


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Coras has made its reputation by promoting and nurturing businesses and entrepreneurs in and around Newbury – and in 2015 we will continue to do just that. On 7th May we are holding our third gala dinner and awards ceremony at the Hilton Newbury Centre. We would love you to join us.

This is a great opportunity for you to meet business professionals at a high level, to promote what you do and to celebrate the success of local businesses.

If you would like to attend or would benefit from winning £1K cash, 6 months business mentoring and an opportunity to tap into a possible £50K investment (or know someone who would) then read more here.

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Thursday 9th October saw the Coras Business Growth Seminar presented by Shawn Khorassani, local businessman and experienced entrepreneur. As headline Coras sponsor, The Hilton Newbury Centre Hotel hosted this sold out inaugural event and over 20 prominent local companies were in attendance.

The day began with a presentation by LevelX, winners of the Coras 2014 competition. Company founder, Steve Ardagh-Walter, gave an overview of his company and spoke about how uplifted he was by his Coras win and how he valued Shawn’s input and mentorship.

Shawn then spoke in detail about his experiences in business, offering his advice in areas where he had overcome challenges and hurdles himself. Tasks were also set where attendees were invited to network, learn about one other and ultimately, to work together in groups to identify and use their own skills and experience to come up with hypothetical business ideas and plans.

The day wrapped up with a relaxed networking session over a delicious lunch.

If you are a start up or SME or even if you have a great business idea that you are ready to implement, you can contact Coras ( throughout the year to arrange a discussion with Shawn.


Attendee Comments:

“Thank you for the wonderfully interesting meeting / seminar this morning. It was great to take a little time out to think about how the business and team are running and how to make improvements in the future. Also, particularly interesting to meet so many people involved in West Berks business, a very interesting crowd. Thanks again for taking the initiative with your Coras organisation.”

Judith Bunting, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate, Newbury and West Berkshire Liberal Democrats

“Thank you very much for the seminar – I found it very helpful and positive. There was a lot of good material about important / fundamental aspects of business and personal life. I’ll bear these in mind over the coming months. Another aspect which I found really good was the unstructured networking, making new connections and meeting people aspect. There was an interesting mix of people. Thank you for an excellent event.”

Steve Ardagh-Walter, LevelX

“Excellent morning, good content and presentation and a great lunch.”

Noel Erskin, Bursar, St. Gabriel’s School

“I found the event thoroughly enjoyable and extremely uplifting. It inspired me to give an extra push with Jonnie Rocket and with the right team I’m sure I can turn him into a global brand! I look forward to seeing Shawn again at another event.”

John Chapman, Author, Jonnie Rocket


Below: Photos of the Coras Business Growth Seminar. Photography by KSP Photography.