SME Inspiration – Manchester Entrepreneur Wins £10K National Contest

An inspirational Manchester entrepreneur has won a national contest with his start-up SME brewing company Zymurgorium.

23-year-old Aaron Darke from Northern Moor in Wythenshawe, went up against 450 fledgling British businesses to win the £10,000 cash prize up for grabs in Carnegie UK Trust’s TestTown competition.

This annual challenge, the first of which was launched as a test pilot in 2013, is open to young entrepreneurs between the ages of 16 and 30.

Aaron’s community-focused business features innovative drinks such as rosehip, copper ale, lychee vodka and champagne-flavoured mead created using locally-sourced ingredients.

After making it through a number of heats held across the country to reach the final, he was tasked with setting up a pop-up shop in Cambridge to gauge customer reaction and the popularity of his products.

Onwards and upwards for this UK start-up business

Following his success as a pop-up retailer, Aaron is planning on using the prize money to invest in stock. He is also preparing to launch a website in the coming weeks.

He said: “I’ve had great support from the regeneration team at Manchester council to help me get this far, so I will continue to work with them and Carnegie Trust UK to work out how to best use the prize money.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to invent new drinks. It’s business as normal.

Other ventures that made it to the final included a vintage clothing company and a gourmet marshmallows business.

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