Press Release | 24 Feb 2022

Dragons’ Den star Steven Bartlett conducts mentoring session with 16-year-old entrepreneur thanks to Vodafone competition

Dragons’ Den star Steven Bartlett conducts mentoring session with 16-year-old entrepreneur thanks to Vodafone competition

Jenk Oz, 16, founder & CEO of Thred Media, won the business mentoring session through Vodafone’s latest Shout Out for Small Businesses competition.

  • 16-year-old Jenk Oz, founder & CEO of Thred Media, won a business mentoring session with entrepreneur and BBC Dragons’ Den star Steven Bartlett in London.
  • Jenk won the prize by winning the latest edition of Vodafone’s Shout Out for Small Businesses competition.
  • Ten runners-up also received a social media marketing campaign boost and an in-depth digital business consultation with a Vodafone V-Hub adviser.

United Kingdom: Vodafone has named Jenk Oz, the 16-year-old founder & CEO of social enterprise company Thred Media, as the winner of the latest edition of its Shout Out for Small Businesses competition.

Launched last year, the Shout Out for Small Businesses competition celebrates entrepreneurs using digital skills and technology to drive their small businesses forward in innovative ways within today’s challenging business environment.

As the overall winner, Jenk won a personal mentoring session with Dragons’ Den star, entrepreneur and Vodafone V-Hub Ambassador Steven Bartlett, at Steven’s London home. Steven used his years of business expertise and experience to provide a tailored assessment of Thred Media, helping Jenk to identify development and growth opportunities. In addition, Thred Media also received a dedicated Facebook and Instagram social media marketing campaign boost to help broaden awareness of their business, alongside an in-depth digital business strategy consultation with a Vodafone V-Hub adviser.

Ten runner-up businesses, including Cypher Coders, Doorstep Gardener and The Snug Bookshop, also received a social media marketing campaign boost and an in-depth digital business consultation with a Vodafone V-Hub adviser.

Shout Out for Small Businesses winners to receive marketing boost prizes

From miniature veg patches to online dog training and meal kits, innovative small businesses across the UK have been adapting to the pandemic.

Jenk was selected by a panel of judges including Steven Bartlett, Enterprise Nation founder Emma Jones CBE and Vodafone’s Head of Small Business, Andrew Stevens. The panel was particularly impressed with the rapid scale at which Thred Media had grown under the leadership of such a young team. To date, Thred Media has 10 full-time employees, 10 remote writers, 100 ambassadors and a community of 200,000+ followers.

Steven Bartlett, Vodafone V-Hub Ambassador and Entrepreneur said: “It’s incredible and truly inspiring to see what such a young company has been able to achieve in such a challenging environment. Technology and digital skills are undoubtedly one of the most important tools for small businesses to gain an edge in competitive markets, and it’s great to see Jenk and his team showcase what’s possible. Vodafone’s competition really shines a light on the amazing businesses out there.”

Alongside Thred Media, Jenk is a social entrepreneur, public speaker, social change activist, DJ, and presenter. Jenk Oz, said: “I want to thank Vodafone for this opportunity. I came up with the concept of a website for teens when I was just 8 years old and presented it at a Show & Tell during a school assembly. Over time, the original website pivoted into thred.com, a 100% social change focused news and insights digital magazine. It’s been an amazing journey so far, with Thred now acting as a full-service media, consulting and research company dedicated to helping global brands gain share of mind of this ever-evolving generation. I really enjoyed receiving in-depth business advice and guidance from my session with Steven and along with Vodafone’s marketing boost, I’m sure my team and I will be able to take our business to new heights.”

V-Hub 'an amazing service for small businesses', say entrepreneurs

Three burgeoning entrepreneurs tell us what V-Hub has done for them, as Vodafone’s guidance service for small and medium-sized businesses marks its first anniversary.

Andrew Stevens, Head of UK Small and Medium Business, Vodafone, said: “Small businesses have undoubtedly been hit hard by the pandemic, but many have been able to leverage the shift to online for the better. Jenk’s story is an inspiring one, and the quality of entrants to this year’s competition was incredibly high. We hope we can help the winning businesses go on to even greater things and showcase what’s possible with smart digital skills and the right help and guidance.”

If you’re a small business owner looking for guidance on anything from starting an online business to digital marketing and cybersecurity, then V-Hub by Vodafone has a wealth of free resources – you can also speak with an adviser. Visit the V-Hub today.

-Ends-

About Thred Media

‘Shaped by Youth Culture, Powered by Social Change’ is Thred Media’s motto, a social enterprise focused on publishing, media, consulting and production aimed at Generation Z. The central tenet of the publishing side is Thred.com, a positive and unifying digital space dedicated to daily news and insights focused on global social change. The website reaches youth across 180 countries and is available in 17 languages.

On the consulting side, the Thred team specialises in cross sector Gen Z research, media engagement strategies and future casting. They connect global brands with insightful young activists, entrepreneurs and cultural leaders enabling them to create collaborative content that best reflects the interests and experiences of this demographic. Thred Media also has a Change Maker Network, which enables young people to gain valuable work experience across a variety of social change focused projects including journalism.

Thred Website: www.thred.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thredmag/

Jenk Oz website: www.jenkoz.com

Jenk Oz Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jenk.oz/

Stay up-to-date with the latest news from Vodafone by following us on Twitter and signing up for News Centre website notifications.

About Vodafone UK

Vodafone UK is a technology communications company that connects people, businesses and devices to help our customers benefit from digital innovation. Our services span mobile, fixed-line connections, home and office broadband, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

We have a strong track record as a tech pioneer, making the UK’s first mobile phone call, sending the first text message, and making the UK’s first live holographic call using 5G in 2018. We were also the first to start carrying live 5G traffic from a site in Salford, Greater Manchester. As of March 2022, we have 5G in 380 locations across Europe – 141 in the UK and 239 across Germany, Spain, Italy and Ireland. Our 4G network coverage currently reaches over 99% of the UK population.

Today, Vodafone serves more than 18 million mobile and fixed-line customers in the UK. To help deliver Gigabit UK, our full-fibre broadband roll-out programme now covers 26 UK towns and cities, rising to 35 over the coming months, through partnerships with CityFibre and Openreach. By spring 2022, our target is to make full fibre services available to more than eight million homes across the UK.

Sustainability is also at the heart of what we do: as of 1 July 2021, 100% of the grid electricity we use in the UK is certified to be from renewable sources.

For more information about Vodafone UK please visit: www.vodafone.co.uk.

Vodafone UK Media Relations

Telephone: +44 (0) 1635 693 693

Email: ukmediarelations@vodafone.com

Twitter: @VodafoneUKNews

Website: https://newscentre.vodafone.co.uk

Vodafone Limited

Registered Office: Vodafone House, The Connection, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 2FN

Registered in England No: 1471587