GSEA 2016 competitors

Tom Charman selected for Global Student Entrepreneur Awards World Finals

A final year Business School student has been selected to represent the UK at the World Finals of the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA) in Bangkok in May. The annual competition is open to students who have created and run their own business for at least six months, alongside their studies.

The GSEA, founded in 1998 by Saint Louis University, support, celebrate and reward outstanding entrepreneurial students, and aim to inspire more students to engage in entrepreneurship. Since 2006, the Awards have been led by the Entrepreneurs Organisation, allowing student participants access to the support, knowledge and experience of a global network of members.

Tom, who is studying BSc Economics and Politics with European Study, decided to enter the competition after cofounding KOMPAS, an innovative travel app, with his team in September 2014. He said: “I entered the GSEA, as I’ve been working with my team on KOMPAS for the last year, and we’ve been trying to decide on a date to launch our application. I’ve been enthusiastic about entrepreneurship for my entire period at university so I decided that I’d make an application, but I certainly didn’t expect to make it through.”

After his initial application and an online interview, Tom was selected along with two other students to represent the UK at the European Finals in Berlin, where a maximum of one student from each country would be chosen to proceed to the World Final. Having passed the first stages, Tom headed to Berlin in March to pitch KOMPAS to a panel of industry experts, including the CFO of Immobilien Scout and the cofounder of Zalando. The competition gathered a group of extremely talented student entrepreneurs, including some already named in the Forbes 30 under 30, all hoping to win over the panellists. Despite the fierce competition, Tom wasn’t fazed, impressing the judges with his pitch, and was selected to represent the UK at the World Finals.

Tom said of his achievement: “When I made it to the European Final, I wanted to take the opportunity to meet some of the most driven, and exciting students from across the continent, and learn about their ideas, their businesses and what drives them to work on business at such an early age.”

“Being selected was both a huge confidence boost, and a validation of KOMPAS. I’ve never been nervous about pitching, but I’ve had a few knock-backs over the years, so being selected to pitch at the World Finals is certainly a boost. We’ve also been working hard as a team to create the best product possible over the past year, and being invited to pitch in Bangkok will give us huge exposure, and is needless to say a huge opportunity.”

“Naturally, I’m a little nervous about pitching against some of the most experienced business people in the world, but if the European Final was anything to go by, I think it should be great fun, and a really good experience, no matter the result.”

Tom will be attending the World Finals in Bangkok in May, where he will compete against 50 students from 50 countries for the title of Best Student Entrepreneur.

Read more about KOMPAS and the GSEA.

Date: 18 April 2016

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