By Jonathan Davies

After months of planning, preparation, pitching and applauding, the inaugural Making Business Happen awards ended with four winners being given a launchpad to future success.

Despite being organised by the University of South Wales (USW), three of four awards were open to students and graduates from universities across the UK. The Aspiring Entrepreneur Award was won by Edward Shorney for his business, GoRookie.

After the awards ceremony, I caught up with Edward to chat about the business, the awards and where they see themselves going.

Tell me a bit about the business

GoRookie is a brand new web platform that brings aspiring apprentices and the companies that need them together quickly, simply and effectively.

GoRookie is a apprenticeship matching service created specifically to assist companies find the most suitable apprentices for them as quickly and easily as possible. This time and money saving is achieved through streamlining the process for applicants seeking and applying for an apprenticeship.

GoRookie will help young people fulfil their potential through education and training and ensure that they are aware of all the apprenticeships available so that they can choose the right one for them.

What made you enter the Making Business Happen awards?

I believe in seizing every opportunity that comes your way and the Making Business Happen awards is a perfect example. When I first saw details of the competition I knew it would be an amazing opportunity to gain support and backing for GoRookie. I thought I was in a strong position to apply with all the research I had done. I believe business, like life, is all about building a network that can support you: the Making Business Happen Awards was a ideal opportunely to gain expert knowledge and develop my already expanding network exponentially .

What is it about your business that you think impressed the judges?

I think the fact that there isn't a current solution to the problem. Currently the application process into apprenticeships is appalling, tedious and unnecessary complex: it’s hard to find what you’re looking for and from what I’ve found its underrepresented within most schools. GoRookie offers the solution to a lot of the problems that young people face.

What was your mentality heading into the ceremony? Did you have a speech prepared just in case, or were you just happy to get where you had?

Heading into the ceremony I didn't know what to think; I knew the other applicants were all very strong with great business. I was confident I’d done my best in the first stages by delivering a strong presentation. I’d thought about putting a speech together but it never seems to go the way I plan. I just thanked everyone for all their support and told them to watch out for Go Rookie in the future...

What was your reaction to winning?

My reaction to winning was complete shock. Thinking back to the moment they announced my name it seems my reaction time was very slow. It took a couple of days for it to sink in that I’d won. It’s great to finally see recognition for all the hard work I've been putting in over the last couple of months.

How important are awards like Making Business Happen in support celebrating young entrepreneurs and their businesses?

The competition was a fantastic opportunity to showcase the best young enterprise talent in the UK and the award ceremony was a perfect celebration of success. I think events like this are critical to inspire other young people to think about starting a business.

How do you envisage using the business support package/where do you see the company going from here?

I’ll be meeting with Dr Jonathan Deacon [awards director] to discuss how the support package can help GoRookie. I will be looking to gain advice on pushing GoRookie forward and what support USW can offer. I’m hoping the team will be able to advise me on taking on a staff member to concentrate on sales and admin. Rising the profile of GoRookie is another point that I’ll be interested in. The future of GoRookie is looking very exciting. You’ll be seeing a lot of GoRookie in the future and I cannot thank USW and the Making Business Happen Awards enough for believing in me and helping take my vision for Go rookie forward.