If you don’t get a Business mentor from these guys you’ve got to be absolutely mad…

_MMP0596Kevin Byrne CEO and Founder of Checkatrade.com visited Medway in order to deliver an inspiring presentation to over 50 people. Kevin attended the IGNITE event which was jointly hosted by business support charity Kent Foundation for Young Entrepreneurs and Kent Association of Young Entrepreneurs, a junior branch of the IoD.

The two organisations hosted the IGNITE event in order to promote, encourage and boost enterprise amongst Kent’s young people. And with Kevin’s support this was a roaring success.

Kevin opened up to the audience providing them with honest and sincere views on his secrets of business success. By providing many real life examples and putting them in to context really got people thinking. His business has not always been this big and he has had to go through many struggles in order to reach the successful position he is in now. Money is a secondary business objective for him with the main motivation to deliver grade A customer service.

Paul Barron, Director of Kent Foundation spoke about the success of their Business Mentoring service, which was endorsed by Kevin who said:

“If you don’t get a Business Mentor from these guys you’ve got to be absolutely mad”

Kevin took the time to network with the young audience members and gave them the chance to ask any of those niggling questions on a one to one basis.

Checkatrade.com vets and monitors trades, companies and services to help people avoid cowboy builders. It has become a monumental success in the UK and over the last 12 months has generated in excess of £1.4billion worth of work for its trade members and now employs around 120 people.

Why Business Mentoring is Crucial!

We saw the launch of The Ramsgate Enterprise Programme on Friday 22nd November. So beforehand in preparation for this we have been working hard, networking, recruiting and training some very enthusiastic Business Mentors. A fantastic response was received and 15 people have volunteered their time in order to support enterprise amongst Thanet’s young people.

If a young person decides to take the route of self employment as a career option we believe that it is crucial to have a business support network in place to increase their chances of success. Through plenty of research and three years of running a Business Mentoring service for young entrepreneurs we have found this to be a fantastic business support tool.

Figures for 2012 show that new business formation amongst 16-29 year-olds has leapt forward to 9.5% compared to 4.9% in 2010. In light of this who wouldn’t want a chance to talk through your business ideas with a Mentor who has ‘been there and done that’ who can eliminate some mistakes that could be costly to a start up business.

If a young person has the passion, drive and determination to bring their business ideas to life let’s reflect this and give them the support they need.

Our Volunteer Business Mentors all go through a 1.5 day training course to help them recognise their own potential but more importantly their potential to help young entrepreneurs.

Over on Facebook we have some great snaps of our latest Business Mentor training in action!

Get yourself a Business Mentor – Click here!

Become a Volunteer Business Mentor – Click here!

Launch of the Sandwich Enterprise Initiative

Enterprising Students in Sandwich

While many students worry about the future job market, sixth-formers from Sandwich Technology School are taking matters into their own hands by participating in the Sandwich Enterprise Initiative. The programme, innovated by Kent Foundation for Young Entrepreneurs and supported by Sandwich Chamber of Commerce, is targeting students who want to explore careers in self-employment or becoming business owners.

The first session, held at Sandwich Technology School on 16 January, created opportunities for hands-on experience at business networking with guests from the local business community.  The programme also explored the essential attributes of an entrepreneur and a workshop on Creative Thinking (just one of the attributes business people have to develop).

Paul Barron, Director of Kent Foundation for Young Entrepreneurs said:

“Working with dynamic, creative and enthusiastic young people just make my job easy and all the more enjoyable. There’s a huge amount of talent in Sandwich, we simply have to allow the participants to open their mind and have confidence in their abilities”

The programme is supported by Steve Laslett of Green and Local, who said:

“The local Chamber was approached by Paul of Kent Foundation, he explained the idea of getting local young people into business and we had no hesitation when asked to get behind the programme.  Young people in Sandwich have the potential to stimulate the already growing markets, we are more than happy to be involved in an opportunity to help them.”

Kent Foundation recruits and trains business owners, professionals and experts from across Kent as Business Mentors. A personal service is a key factor to business support as no two individuals or business ideas are ever the same. Young people get the benefit of discussing their ideas on a 1-2-1 basis with Kent Foundation plus ongoing support from a Business Mentor.

Flowbox: Star Business of the Month – February 2014


Star business web_RGB





The Stars: Ed Cradock and Will Beeching

Description: Working with companies and individuals to build brands and relationships with their customers through digital and print design.

Get In Touch: Website       Facebook            Twitter           LinkedIn

Hello, we’re Ed and Will from Flowbox we run a creative agency based in Maidstone.

We started Flowbox in 2012 with a simple but captivating vision: to build a creative agency that transforms bold ideas in exceptional design. Our ethos is to develop a unique relationship with our clients, then handcraft a brand or idea around them. We believe in a one size fits none mentality, we approach each project differently and work with our clients to get it right for them.


The process of starting our business wasn’t without tribulations. We had just finished our final year at school and were faced with University options. It was a leap of faith we took in the end to decline our offers and start the business off the back of a small start up loan. We moved into our office in January 2013, just above a local printing company. We never felt that working for someone else was satisfying, we wanted to build something ourselves and create a success from it. It is the best decision we have made.

At the start of 2013 we had very few clients, but plenty of enthusiasm. By the end of the year we had built up a portfolio of almost 100 clients ranging from small start-ups to international brands. In one year we have transformed from ‘new kid on the block’ to one of Maidstone’s top agencies.

2014 is an exciting year for us, we have big plans to grow and develop. Our goals for the year are to expand into larger offices and take on an employee or two. We’ve met loads of innovative new companies and are working on some really exciting projects already this year, keep an eye on our website and the App Store.

Our Business Tip: Never give up, it is the times when everything seems to be going against you that it is paramount to persevere. Even through the long hours and sleepless nights – it’s worth it in the end.