A Blast! 2019

On the 16th May 2019 The Kent Foundation A Blast! opened its doors at The Maidstone Studios. It was a awesome evening celebrating Young Entrepreneurs and Business owners in Kent. A huge thank you from everyone at The Kent Foundation to all the exhibitors and their amazing stands which showcased their businesses, to our visitors and your interest in the work we do, and our key sponsors for your support. A final thanks to Liu Batchelor for capturing our event, we hope this inspires you to think about how you get involved in A Blast 2020! We look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks to our sponsors

Business of the Month

At school, Hannah Catchlove decided that she wanted to start her own business by the time she was 30. She didn’t know exactly what her business would be, she just knew she wanted to make it happen. Her opportunity arose in 2015 when she was relocating from her home in Kent to Suffolk, when her current employer asked her to continue working with the firm as a freelance graphic designer.

Whilst living in Suffolk, Hannah started to grow her freelance client base and also launched a range of illustrated cards that she began selling online. In 2016, Hannah moved back to Kent and attended the Kent Foundation A Blast! networking event where she found out about the support available and subsequently signed up to be matched with a mentor.

Since moving back to Kent, Hannah’s online shop had been having consistent sales and she was enjoying illustrating and creating new products. She decided this was going to be her business focus and now sells a range of cards, prints and homeware through her website www.fondcompany.co.uk and specialist retailers.  

Hannah first met her mentor, Julie a few months after the A Blast! Event and was low in confidence, having suffered some setbacks in her business. Julie initially helped her with confidence building exercises and overcoming ‘imposter syndrome’ whilst also focusing  Hannah to develop a robust business plan with measurable goals. Hannah and Julie continue to review her progress each month and they set fresh goals for 2019, reflecting on her achievements from the previous year.

Hannah’s plans for 2019 include raising the profile of her brand, particularly across Kent, increasing her range of stockists and to continue building upon the success of her online shop.

Hannah’s biggest success was securing her first retailer and her biggest challenges have been adapting to the isolation of working on her own and securing high quality british manufacturers for her illustrative products.

Hannah’s word of advice for other young people in business are….

Make sure you are starting a business you have a passion for.

Use your Mentor to give you advice and feedback that your friends and family may not want to.

Get systems in place and take advantage of technology to manage your finances, admin and invoicing.

Work when you are most effective, you don’t have to stick to office hours!

Hannah will be exhibiting her products at A Blast! 2019 on 16 May so drop by and say hello!

Kent Foundation Awards Reception

On the 15th January 2019, the Kent Foundation held is first Awards Evening. It took place in Sessions House, Maidstone and was very kindly hosted by the Chairman of Kent County Council, Cllr Mike Angell, to recognise and celebrate the outstanding achievements of our young entrepreneurs and hard working, dedicated team of volunteer business mentors. The evening was opened by Stuart Tanton (Director of the Kent Foundation) and saw three genres of awards being given to nominated trustees, mentors, and mentees following another successful year for The Kent Foundation, and the businesses we support.

First, The Spirit of The Kent Foundation Award, Mike Angell (Chairman of Kent County Council) and Pip Lawrence (Kent Foundation Trustee) awarded those nominated volunteers who had promoted the vision of Kent Foundation, and made significant impact on their mentees and their businesses through the ongoing support they have provided. Eight people received this award. Congratulations go to Oliver Trailor, Adam Bissill, Michaela Partridge, Joanna Dennis, David Kirk, Bryan Hall, Rohani Emmanuelson, and Liz Jenkins.

The second award of the evening recognised Start-up Business of the year. Cllr Mike Angell and Liz Jenkins (Kent Foundation Trustee and Mentor) awarded three young and hardworking businesses as a result of nominations from their mentors. The winners of this award were: Ellie Cachia of Renowned Resourcing, which connects people to their perfect job in the South East, including London, alongside mentor Adrian Wenn; Angie Everett-Penfold of Body Secrets, a massage specialist who also offers beauty service, with mentor Tunde Daczo; and Sophie and Katie Kember of Ruby Frances Bridal, an award winning wedding dress shop, with mentor Paul Markland.

The final award of the evening, the Impact Award, was handed out by Cllr Mike Angell, Julian Kirkness (Chairman of Kent Foundation), and Ben Towers (Award-winning Young Entrepreneur) to three individuals who have individually made a huge contribution in promoting and supporting young people in business and had been nominated in recognition of it; this years incredible winners were Pip Lawrence, Roger Williams, and Adrien Wenn.

A big thank you, and congratulations to you all for what you have achieved.

Following the awards ceremony, the evening continued with some great networking between volunteers and young people, whilst enjoying some exceptional food and a glass or two of Chapel Down wine. Bekka, a young entrepreneur with a new business gaining support from The Kent Foundation, said on reflection “Networking went so well for everyone…Everyone was so kind and welcoming to a new person like me, it was wonderful!” and that she “left the awards night feeling recharged creatively, and ready to work on her business, full of ideas and a confidence in her abilities…and looking forward to the next year!”

Another successful A Blast! Business Networking event at Maidstone TV Studios

This year’s A Blast! business networking event boasted an incredible mix of exhibition space for Kent’s young business owners who showcased their businesses at Maidstone TV Studios. A buzz hit the studios as they networked with their peers and gave the opportunity for the business community of Kent to see and hear the stories behind their successful businesses supported by The Kent Foundation.

This year over 200 people attended for the event and nearly 40 businesses were on show with an eclectic mix of products and services ranging from cookies, kart racing, wedding dresses right through to gluten free chocolate.

Gemma Keith owner of Gemma Keith Designs had this to say about this year’s event:

Gemma Keith Designs“Wow! what an evening I had at the A Blast! event at Maidstone Studios. An inspiring space to hold all kinds of local talent, and business entrepreneurs. A huge thank you to The Kent Foundation for organising such a bubbly and exciting event where you are able to meet all kinds of people. I received so many helpful ideas and positive feedback from people who are whole-heartedly there to help you and want to see you and your business grow. I truly cannot wait until next year’s event to see how everyone has grown! Thank you.”

Our charity is recognised as the go-to place for Kent’s young people in business to receive support to grow their business. This is reliant on our volunteer business mentoring service where business people from across Kent volunteer their time to support Kent’s young business owners to achieve in business. Stuart Tanton, Director of Kent Foundation expands further on the event and business support services:

‘In my first year with the Kent Foundation as Director I am immensely proud of the success of A Blast! 2018. All of the exhibitors are inspirational young business people who are really showing that business is very much alive and well in Kent. Without exception, all of the stands looked amazing, and the professionalism we are seeing is really something we are genuinely excited about. The future of business in Kent looks good! This year’s event has been a real showcase for our charity and Kent’s young people in business. I’d like to extend a special mention to our volunteer business mentors that give up so much time in supporting them.’

The Kent Foundation has ambitious plans for the future in creating a vibrant business community led by young people. Over the last year we have seen an increase in new businesses taking up our offer of business support, and we need to keep this momentum going to reflect the excitement they have, energy they bring, and celebrating the achievements they make.

Check out the photos and videos from the event below:

Thank you to Rose Bainbridge Photography for the photos check her out at www.rosebainbridgephotography.com

Credit – Rose Bainbridge Photography – www.rosebainbridgephotography.comA Blast! 'Probably The Best Business…

Posted by The Kent Foundation on Thursday, 17 May 2018

Thank you to AM Marketing for this video showcase

Thanks to Corralex Media for the video below

Leading Business Mentoring Charity in Kent Appoints Two Young Trustees

Leading Business Mentoring Charity in Kent Appoints Two Young Trustees

The Kent Foundation a leading business mentoring charity in Kent welcomes two young entrepreneurial Trustees to its board. As a charity that specialises in providing free business mentoring to ambitious young business owners aged 30 and under in Kent it is important that this is represented on the board.

The two newly appointed Trustees are Pip Lawrence, Co-Founder of DayOne Wellness, an outdoor personal training and wellbeing company who coach people into the best shape of their lives both mentally and physically. The other is Piperis Filippaios, Managing Director of DigitalBeans, a results driven digital marketing agency based in Canterbury delivering search and social marketing campaigns for clients internationally. He also runs two ecommerce companies sending out thousands of parcels every year internationally.

Julian Kirkness, Chairman of The Kent Foundation was delighted to welcome the two new Trustees.

“We are delighted to welcome Pip Lawrence and Piperis Filippaios to the board of Trustees. The Foundation’s main audience are the inspirational young business people of Kent – and although those of us who were once young have a lot to give in terms of time, knowledge and experience, it is very important that we also understand their needs and aspirations. Pip and Piperis will bring this perspective to the board, both being successful young business people in their own right, as well as former beneficiaries of our services. Their impact is already being felt following the first Trustees meeting of 2018.”

Pip Lawrence, Co-Founder of Day One Wellness speaks of her positive experience in business and as a user of the charitable services of the Foundation:

“I was delighted and honoured to be appointed as a young trustee of The Kent Foundation. From a personal point of view, I feel incredibly lucky to have discovered the Kent Foundation when I did. I can honestly say my company DayOne Wellness wouldn’t be anywhere near what it is today without their support. Due to this, I am fiercely passionate about ensuring other aspiring entrepreneurs and ‘young’ growth businesses have access to the support and mentorship that has the potential to dramatically grow Kent’s economy and facilitate positive sustainable change in the County and beyond.”

Piperis Filippaios gives us insight in to how he is looking forward to working with The Kent Foundation and being a part in developing its future.

“I feel honoured to have been appointed as a trustee of The Kent Foundation. I originally came across The Kent Foundation nearly 10 years ago and was surprised and delighted by the encouragement and support I received at the time. I strongly feel that young entrepreneurs should be able to keep benefiting from the support services offered by Kent Foundation for years to come. I hope that my skills and business experience to date will go some way towards ensuring that young entrepreneurs can keep receiving such services and experiencing ever improving levels of support to help grow their businesses.”

Digital Beans Donates £500 to Support Future Entrepreneurs in Kent

Digital Beans donates £500 to business support charity The Kent Foundation. Piperis Filippaios, who started his first business at an early age, received help from The Kent Foundation at a vital time.

While studying at Kent University, Piperis set his sights on becoming a successful entrepreneur. At the end of his third year as an undergraduate and the start of his Masters degree at the University, he started a new website called uFlog.

The website was targeted at students to help them buy and sell items on campus for free, with any income coming from advertising. Like any university student, finance was tight and Piperis approached The Kent Foundation for help.

They agreed to give him a grant of £150 to help him purchase some advertising to increase awareness of the site. However, although uFlog was being used by students, he struggled to get businesses to advertise.

A bi-product of this relationship with the businesses though, meant that he started receiving requests to help them with their digital marketing instead.

Digital Beans Donates £500 charity supporting Kent's Young Entrepreneurs

Piperis said: “Like any start-up, it was tough getting it going and The Kent Foundation gave me the boost I needed. Setting uFlog up led me in a direction I had not expected. Getting businesses to advertise was hard, but I started to receive requests to help with their digital marketing instead. This set me on the journey I am on today. Because of this, it led me to evolve my business into uTargeting, which was the start of my current digital marketing agency – DigitalBeans. So that £150 grant has led me to where I am today.”

Digital Beans, which is located in Canterbury, now employs three staff and has a number of clients helping them with organic and paid search and social media strategies including Search Engine Optimisation, Google AdWords, Paid Social Media Advertising and Retargeting.

Piperis added: “The business has been steadily growing and I am fortunate to be able to now offer something back as a thank you for the help The Kent Foundation gave me when I needed it. This is why I am donating £500 to them, so that they can help other young people in their business journey as well.”

Stuart Tanton, the Operations Manager at the charity, said: “The Kent Foundation, over the last ten years, has grown into the number one charity for supporting young people under the age of 30 in business. It is great to know that Piperis benefited and valued our support, and has created a successful business. It is essential our charity continues to offer the next generation the same opportunities Piperis had. His generous donation will go directly towards our volunteer business mentoring service which will support other aspiring young people to achieve success in their businesses.”