Launch of NEW program for Young People in Dartford

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Funding, advice and 1-2-1 mentoring available through Dartford’s Young Entrepreneurs Support Program

Budding entrepreneurs in Dartford can access expert support and the chance for a grant to help make their business dreams a reality, thanks to a new scheme launched by the Kent Foundation and funded by Dartford Borough Council.

On Wednesday, November 9th, Council members met with mentors and local businesses at the Hill Hub in Dartford to launch the Young Entrepreneurs Support Program which has been funded by a grant of £21,100 from the Council. 

The program is open to anyone aged 18 to 30 who has a business idea, or is already trading and wants to grow their company. It provides workshops, support tailored to their business needs and full access to the Kent Foundation’s business mentoring service. 

Those who sign up will also have an exciting opportunity to make a Dragons Den style pitch to access a small business grant to help these entrepreneurs get off the ground. 

Lead Member for Business Cllr Avtar Sandhu MBE said: “There are so many talented young business people in Dartford and we want to nurture their growing talents. This programme can help turn a side hustle or part time hobby into a fully-fledged company by helping develop the essential skills needed to create a successful business.” 

Leader of the Council Jeremy Kite MBE said: “Things might be difficult financially at the moment, but that shouldn’t get in the way of entrepreneurs creating the next big business – it’s our duty as a Council to support them, who knows, maybe the next Alan Sugar could be from Dartford.”

“Offering small business grants and Dragons Den style pitching scenarios is a great opportunity for budding business owners. When it comes to supporting local businesses, I’m in.”

Stuart Tanton, Director of Kent Foundation said: “We are very pleased to be delivering this exciting program for young people in Dartford, through the support of Dartford Council. The opportunity this creates for young people in Dartford who want to start their own enterprise is going to create not just a short term achievement in kickstarting new enterprises, but enforce Dartford as a great place to start and grow a business. Our plan is to embed this support in the local community through a network of volunteer business mentors, and we look forward to creating key partners in the area to achieve this.”

Sign up to the Dartford Young Entrepreneurs Support Program by visiting   

The Kent Foundation

The Kent Foundation is a unique charity that provides free business support and mentoring to Kent’s young entrepreneurs and business owners. It recruits and trains leaders from the Kent business community to become volunteer mentors who support the next generation of business owners in Kent. The Kent Foundation is an essential part of the business community, supporting innovative young people to grow new enterprises, create employment opportunities, and contribute to the economic well-being of the County.

For further information, please contact or call 01322 343225.

KentBizFest – 6th July 2022

A warm summer welcome to our headline event celebrating young business owners in Kent.

Coachworks in Ashford was once again turned into a celebration for young entrepreneurs and business owners in Kent. The Kent Foundation hosted KentBizFest for the second time, and wanting to follow the huge success of the first back in October last year, and it didn’t disappoint.

The evening was compared by Kent Foundation Business Mentors Liz Jenkins and Julie Flower on the main stage welcoming some of The Kent Foundation’s inspirational young business owners and their mentors to speak on how they get through the challenges of starting a business and their own insights to business growth. Included in the line-up was Molly Wright – Molly Moodle Media, Piperis Filippaios – digitalbeans and Sophie Shepherd – Devoted Homecare all sharing their own incredible business journey’s.

The evening was a great opportunity to network, meet more of the businesses The Kent Foundation supports, and enjoying one of the free Mocktails on what was a beautiful warm summers evening.

Please enjoy the videos on this page and get a taste of how the event went, and if you would like to get involved, support or sponsor the next one, or any other part of The Kent Foundations work please get in touch, we would love to hear from you.

Finally, Thank you to The Frank Brake Charitable Trust for your support in putting this event on, it simply wouldn’t of happened without you.

Please watch the full presentations below

KentBizFest – 12th October 2021

In Person Networking is Back and Greener than ever!

People. Planet. Profit.  The three pillars of sustainability, all of which were celebrated at the recent Kent Foundations showcase event KentBizFest! Over one hundred established business owners and young entrepreneurs descended on the Coachworks in Ashford on the 12th October for a night of inspiration, opportunity, and good old-fashioned face to face networking!

“…an insightful event offering inspiring advice and business opportunities for young entrepreneurs…”

The evening was compared by young entrepreneurs Carleigh-Ann Portelli and Claire Louise Portelli founders of Naked Frank Theatre and the main stage welcomed some of Kent Foundation’s inspirational young business owners and their mentors, as they shared how they got through the challenges of the last 18 months.  Frazer Thompson from Chapel Down closed the event by sharing his very own career journey and words of wisdom for business owners new and old, but not before teaching us all in the art of sabrage – look it up!

“…thanks for putting on a super cool event and allowing young entrepreneurs to access a wide range of opportunities…”

Working with Reward Events, every action was taken to make the event as sustainable as possible – the branding was made from recycled ocean plastic, the name badges were printed on seeded paper and hung on lanyards made from recycled plastic bottles and together with Coachworks, a zero single use and zero waste to landfill policy was implemented.

Not only that, but in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals the event also showcased the true diversity at the heart of the Kent Foundation with Tawanda Chikurunhe of Nice and Easy Cleaning Ltd, Sophie Shepherd of Devoted Homecare Ltd and their Kent Foundation mentor Annabelle Webster joining the entrepreneurs discussion panel as well as Yofi Yvorra of Yo! Street Zone sharing his personal business journey.  Gender equality was also honoured with an even male to female speaker ratio – something which is also further endorsed with 51% of the businesses supported by the Kent Foundation being female owned.

For many it was their first face to face live event since the pandemic and people were excited to meet new people and reconnect with old friends and colleagues in the marketplace, by the firepit – or at the bar where the KentBizFizz mocktails were flowing!

“Congratulations to the team who hosted a fantastic evening – my first in-person large scale event post-pandemic”

A fantastic evening celebrating young people in business in Kent – and all done sustainably!

“…it was great to see lots of new businesses and meet up with some familiar faces too…”

Want to know more about making your next event sustainable, or driving sustainability into your business?  Speak to Danielle at Reward Events –

Finally, Thank you to The Frank Brake Charitable Trust for your support in putting this event on, it simply wouldn’t of happened without you.

Please watch the full presentations below

Food start-ups supported through strategic partnership Kent Foundation and Produced in Kent

Press Release 26 July 2021

The Kent Foundation forms a Strategic Partnership with food and drink membership organisation Produced in Kent

The Kent Foundation and Produced in Kent are thrilled to announce their strategic partnership and look forward to working closer together on event and business support activities that benefit the young entrepreneurs in the local independent food and drink sector in Kent.

Starting end of September 2021, Kent Foundation and Produced in Kent will run a four-session training series on financial planning aimed at start-ups and small businesses. Often seen as ‘the boring bit’ of running a business, understanding your business’ finances will greatly improve its chances of survival, more so than having a slick marketing strategy in place.

Floortje Hoette, CEO Produced in Kent: ‘In the UK, 89% of UK start-ups survive their first year (ONS, 2019), but fewer than 50% make it beyond 5 years (GOV.UK, 2019) – I reckon a lot of that is down to the numbers not adding up. Produced in Kent and Kent Foundation are now offering a training course that will help young businesses take a closer look at the financial side of their business and plan for the future.’

Stuart Tanton, Director of The Kent Foundation states: ‘The pandemic has seen quite a few new food and drink businesses pop up. People decided or were forced to change career and have picked up on the momentum that is building around local food and drink. Kent Foundation and Produced in Kent want to make sure that these entrepreneurs have a solid financial plan in place that will help them steer through what is still a fairly unstable economic climate.

The training sessions will be provided Smart Support, a business management consultancy who have been actively supporting and mentoring businesses throughout the Covid pandemic, and receives financial backing from the South East Business Boost (SEBB).

Kent Foundation and Produced in Kent have also agreed to offer a 50% reduced Produced in Kent membership fee for food and drink Kent Foundation trainees who have been trading less than 2 years. Floortje: ’When you start a business, it is so important to get your name out there through marketing and networking – but your budget is usually small. A membership organisation such as Produced in Kent can help you amplify your marketing through its own marketing channels, campaigns and networking events. Produced in Kent is a community of passionate food and drink entrepreneurs who can teach you lots of valuable lessons and who you can potentially work together with.

Stuart sees great value in working closely together to support Kent start-ups: ‘It can be a lonely world out there when you start your own business. This strategic partnership will create an even more supportive community and network for people who are in a similar situation and face similar challenges. Our organisations can show them that Kent is a great place to start, and be in business’.

For more information on the financial planning training sessions for start-ups and small food and drink businesses, please contact Produced in Kent by email: or tel. 01732 853170.

Produced in Kent is a strong, widely recognised brand, benefiting and promoting its membership businesses. It provides business support, advice and sales opportunities. Our role is to promote local and seasonal produce and provide support and services to our Members. This is underpinned by our core values: – A commitment to quality and provenance – Respect and trust for one another – Driving sector innovation and expertise – Supporting commerciality.

The Kent Foundation is a unique Charity (Registered Charity No. 291559) that provides free business support and mentoring to Kent’s young entrepreneurs and business owners (18-30). We recruit and train leaders from the Kent business community to become volunteer mentors to support the next generation of business owners in Kent. We have become an essential part of the business support community in Kent to grow new enterprises. Over the last year we have supported over 150 start-up businesses which have achieved over £4m in sales.

The Kent Foundation Awards Evening 2021

Celebrating the successes of 2020

2020 was a challenging year for everyone, the way we delivered our service completely changed, as well as how businesses have had to adapt to the new world we find ourselves in with COVID-19. All of the businesses who received support through our mentoring program demonstrated a real innovation and resilience to make the best of what could be done, and we are very proud of theirs successes, and the commitment of our volunteer business mentors. This is why we wanted to publicly celebrate with them, and recognise their achievements.

The business community of Kent gathered online for the annual Kent Foundation Awards.  We were once again overwhelmed by the quality of nominations this year and delighted to make awards to such worthy individuals.  The virtual room was buzzing with conversation after the awards ceremony and a great sence of acheivement was felt concidering how difficult 2020 was for so many people and businesses.

If you wasnt able to join us, please watch it here…..Enjoy!

It was a pleasure for everyone there to see the recognition given to both Kent Foundation Members and Volunteers. So much has been achieved in 2020 by the businesses that were nominated, and, through the support and appreciation of their Kent Foundation Business Mentors.

The Awards went to

Spirit of The Kent Foundation – Nominations and Winner

Adrian Wenn

Julie Flower

Liz Jenkins

Mario Berti

John Newcombe 

Richard Larkman

Tunde Daczo

Stephen Wise – Winner

The Big Impact Award – Nominations and Winner

Stephen Wise

Rebecca Daniel – The Jigsaw Company

Adrian Wenn

Julie Flower

Aden Lane

Alex Cachia

Digital Beans- 

Katie Hawkins – Winner

Innovation in Business Award – Nominations and Winner

Angie Everett-Penfold

Kimberley Hicks

Roxanne Thomas

Terri Wright

Amy Kolsteren – Winner

Acknowledgement of success

Dunk Cookies

Fond Company 

Lily Rose Macarons

Alex Cachia 

Cressida- The Real Bodies Coach

Bloomfield Sustainability

Ones to watch

Laura Hackett

Jade Scammels

Fabia Goff

Elena Smitherman