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