The Business Class

Ten brilliant British entrepreneurs under 30

Anmar Frangoul | Special to
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Faced with high youth unemployment and a competitive job market, a growing number of young Britons are looking to take matters into their own hands.

Research conducted by The Prince's Trust and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has found that 25 percent of young people expect to be self-employed in five years' time, with 24 percent of 16-30 year olds stating they would now rather set up their own business than continue to look for work.

If you're young, struggling to find employment and thinking of starting your own business, we've picked 10 Brits under 30 who are making waves in the business world.

—By CNBC's Anmar Frangoul

Jamal Edwards, 23

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Edwards started online music and entertainment channel SB.TV when he was just 16, filming freestyle rap videos. Today, SB.TV's YouTube channel has over 360,000 subscribers and its videos have been viewed over 150 million times.

Now 23, Edwards has seen his hobby turn into an influential business that has bagged interviews with U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron and leader of the opposition Ed Miliband.

In October, the company secured an undisclosed investment from London based private equity firm Miroma Ventures, which valued SB.TV at £8 million ($12.8 million).

With funding secured, Edwards and his team is now looking to expand and diversify into e-commerce, event management, merchandise and mobile apps.

Nick D'Aloisio, 18

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Nick D'Aloisio's rise from student to entrepreneur has been staggering. The Londoner started creating iPhone apps at the age of 12.

At 15 his app Trimit, which allowed users to summarize large blocks of text, secured $300,000 of funding from Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka Shing's venture capital firm, Horizon Ventures.

D'Aloisio used this to develop Trimit into Summly, a free app which uses algorithms to summarize news content into succinct, Twitter-friendly chunks.

In March 2013 Summly was acquired by internet search giant Yahoo! for a reported $30 million. All this from a self-taught, bedroom-based entrepreneur.

Fraser Doherty, 24

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At 14, Fraser Doherty's grandmother taught him how to make jam. Inspired, the teenager from Edinburgh, Scotland, began to make and sell his own. He started small, selling his jam door-to-door, at local delicatessens and farmer's markets.

Soon, over 1,000 jars were being made and sold from his parents' kitchen each week. Doherty's "lightbulb moment" came when he noticed that sales of jam, hampered by an unhealthy image of added sugar and additives, were in decline.

He set to work developing a recipe which used nothing more than the fruit and its juices.

Today, his product, SuperJam, is sold in major U.K. supermarkets and Doherty has won a host of awards including 'Global Student Entrepreneur of The Year'. And he's sold millions of jars of jam, too.

Jules Quinn, 25

The Tea*Shed

As an intern in London, Jules Quinn got used to making cups of tea. After countless trips to the shops she noticed that there was a small, uninspiring choice of quality brews on offer.

The idea for a high-end tea company was born. During her final year project at Northumbria University, Quinn – who was studying fashion marketing – developed her ideas, formulated a business plan, and secured over £6,000 in funding.

The *TeaShed was launched in May 2011, and is now sold by retailers across the U.K.. Quinn is keen to expand exports of her products, but her ambition doesn't end there.

After opening a pop-up store in Newcastle Upon Tyne earlier this year – which sold food as well as tea – she wants to open shops around the country. Her aim is to have one in every major U.K. city by 2018.

Dominic McVey, 28

Dominic McVey;Jacqueline Gold;Lord Jeffrey Archer
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Dominic McVey started out young. At 13, after stumbling across a U.S. website selling foldable micro scooters, he noticed a gap in the U.K. market and began importing them.

After securing European distribution rights for the product – which is now ubiquitous on both school runs and commutes – he sold 11 million units. By the age of 15, the London born entrepreneur was a millionaire.

Never one to rest on his laurels, McVey has pursued interests in a wide range of businesses, from cosmetics to music and fashion.

In 2009 he became the U.K.'s youngest magazine publisher when he bought ailing men's magazine Front for £87,500. He is estimated to be worth £7 million.

Dessi Bell, 29


Former investment banker Dessi Bell founded sportswear company Zaggora in 2011. The idea for her business came during the run up to her wedding, when she wanted to maximize her time in the gym.

Intrigued by the relationship between heat and weight loss, she developed a product which heats up during exercise.

Today, Zaggora produces and sells a range of gym wear that enables, the company claims, wearers to burn extra calories during their workouts.

Exploiting the potential of social media and the blogosphere to generate a buzz, Zaggora has enjoyed rapid growth, with a turnover of £10.7 million in its first year of trading, and over 600,000 products sold in 133 countries to date.

Louis Barnett, 21

Louis Barnett
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When Louis Barnett was 11 years old, he was diagnosed with both dyslexia and dyspraxia. Bullied, his parents took him out of school and educated him from home, where his fascination with chocolate making began.

He founded his company, Chokolit, when he was just 12. At 14 he became high street supermarket Waitrose's youngest ever supplier and at 16 Selfridges were stocking his creations.

Today, Louis Barnett Chocolates – as his company is now known – is sold throughout the U.K., both in stores and online.

Melissa Morris, 27

Ania Jack

A former management consultant with McKinsey & Co, Melissa Morris founded and launched Network Locum in 2012.

A website which enables doctors' practices and locums in the U.K. to cut out agencies and connect with one another directly.

The site has proved to be popular: to date, 800 practices and 1,500 locums in the U.K. have signed up, and just last month Network Locum expanded and began to host jobs for nurses.

Sara Davies, 29

Crafter's Companion

Davies founded Crafter's Companion in 2005, while she was still at university.

Today, her company, which designs, manufactures and sells arts and craft products all over the world, has a predicted turnover of £7.2 million and is expanding rapidly, having just signed a major contract with the biggest craft retailer in the U.S.

Davies was named EY U.K. Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year in 2010, is head of the board of directors at the Craft Hobby Association, and recently won a Shell Women of the Future Award for Entrepreneur of the Year.

Adam Hildreth, 28

Crisp Thinking Group Limited

Adam Hildreth, from Leeds, Yorkshire, started his first company, Dubit, when he was just 14. One of the first social networks, it became an online hub for U.K. teenagers, eventually evolving into a youth marketing and research agency which helps brands develop and launch products for children.

His current venture, Crisp Thinking, specializes in moderating online forums and filtering inappropriate or malicious content.

Crisp Thinking offers anti-grooming software, which analyses online conversations for warning signs of grooming: a Cambridge University study found it to be 98.4 percent effective in protecting children online.