From education to employment

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

@VodafoneUK 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. (@SteveBartlettSC)

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.

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 were 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, 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.”

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, digital marketing, or cybersecurity the V-Hub by Vodafone has a wealth of free resources – you can also speak with an advisor – visit the V-Hub today:

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