Wealden Business Group Raises £5000 for Kent Foundation for Young Entrepreneurs

Wealden Business Group (WBG), a Tenterden-based business networking organisation chose us as their charity of the year and presented a cheque for a fantastic £5000.

WBG has been busy raising money throughout the year with a series of events, including a black tie dinner in February which was attended by Liam Behn, Marketing and Communication Coordinator at Kent Foundation.

Donate to Kent Foundation for Young Entrepreneurs
Picture shows (from left) Paul Barron, Director of Kent Foundation, Anne Webster, Charity Dinner Committee Member and WBG’s immediate past chairman David Meredith.

“It was obvious that a lot of time, effort and enthusiasm had gone in to the planning and preparation of the evening and this was reflected in the guests that attended. I was joined by two young entrepreneurs who played a vital role in reflecting the work of Kent Foundation. Daniel Warren, young entrepreneur and owner of Mint Fresh Services delivered his business story to the audience and it really hit home to the guests just how vital business support can be to business success. Many of the guests congratulated him and were asking for his business cards”

Paul Barron, Director of Kent Foundation was presented the cheque at one of the weekly networking events held every Wednesday at the Little Silver Country Hotel in and told members of WBG:

“Myself and the rest of the team at the Foundation are extremely grateful for this generous donation from Wealden Business Group. There is a lot of synergy between the Foundation and WBG in the belief that networking is a crucial marketing tool in business, sometimes it’s not what you know but who you know. The contribution will help us to nurture the development of young people starting their own businesses, who are increasingly important to the future economy of Kent.”

1493291_662175307158740_880489715_oAs a business support charity all of our services are offered free of charge to young people under the age of 30 living in Kent. We believe in delivering a personal service and that every individual and business is different. We meet with every aspiring young entrepreneur on a one to one basis to deliver one to one information, advice and guidance. Ongoing support is provided provided by our trained Volunteer Business Mentors who are all business owners, experts and professionals from across Kent.

Donations such as this are vital in helping us to sustain the delivery of free business support to Kent’s young people and ensuring their best chance of business success. If you are passionate about business and would like to raise funds we have some fantastic Sponsorship packages on offer, or alternatively donating is easy via our Charity Choice Page.

Two New Businesses in Sandwich

Sandwich Enterprise initiative Final 043
Vicky a young business owner with Paul Barron Director of Kent Foundation, plus Marcie Boyer Business Mentor

We have spent the last few weeks working with students from Sandwich Technology School to help them understand business. As a direct response to the workshops we are pleased to announce that two new businesses will be launched in the local area.

Paul Barron, Director of Kent Foundation was only too pleased with the results of the programme and the efforts of the students from the school to make it happen. He had this to say about it:

“Partnership with the school commenced when I was invited by the Head Boy, Simon Malhomme, to work with the school. Simon was keen to manage a programme with us and it seemed logical to target students who were keen and entrepreneurial. We soon attracted another volunteer to work alongside Simon. Marcie Boyer a recently trained Kent Foundation Business Mentor and employee at Pfizer who will her offering ongoing support to one of the fledgling businesses to increase their chances of success. I really didn’t expect such a fantastic impact… we only worked with a dozen students and now three of them are launching two businesses”

Sandwich Enterprise Initiative Final
Students from Sandwich Technology School: Shannon, Michael and Amelia

Students attended four 1-hour workshops covering entrepreneurialism, networking, communication, business planning and presentation skills. Students joined the group because they were keen to take control of their own lives and learn the basics about business which is becoming increasingly popular as a career choice.

The Final event was held at The Bell Hotel Sandwich, and only took place thanks to support from the Samuel Butler Foundation and Revd Canon Mark Roberts, Vicar of St Clements, Sandwich who was only too happy to support the funding application.

The programme was also supported by Steve Laslett representing the Sandwich Town Chamber of Commerce, Leyland Ridings KCC Member for Sandwich and Kimberley Anderson from Discovery Park who are all avid supporters of encouraging young business.

Beth and Joanne are looking to start up J & E Furnishings an extremely resourceful business utilising pre-loved fabrics and recycling them into bespoke furnishings such as cushions. This summer after their exams the two students are planning to attend numerous craft fairs. They have expressed that this will provide them with a real insight in to what their customers want and enable them to tailor their products to suit.

Vicky who already runs a dog training business in the area has ambitious plans to set up an animal rescue service. Vicky has a real passion for animals which is reflected in the business idea. She has already completed extensive market research, providing her with a real vision of where the business will be in the future.

Both start-up businesses will receive ongoing monthly support from a fully trained Kent Foundation Business Mentor to ensure they have every possible chance of success.

“Sandwich is a great community to work in, we garnered support from all quarters and the programme was a huge success. If we can gather the same support again we would be more than happy to run another programme next year.”

For more photos head over to our Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151996549221466.1073741836.322031111465&type=1&l=f179f25cfd

Beth and Joanne with products from their business start up J&E Furnishings
Beth and Joanne with products from their business start up J&E Furnishings

Happy 10th Birthday to KAYE

On Wednesday 12th March we joined the Kent Association of Young Entrepreneurs at their 10th birthday party and celebrated in true style with a bit of speed networking at Fruitworks Coworking space in Canterbury. It is a junior branch of the IoD and primarily offers a support network to young professionals and entrepreneurs.

First up Guest Speakers…

Paul Andrews a local Kent business celebrity kicked the evening off by telling us about his journey in business as CEO of jobsinkent.com and as a keen investor in local business. He referred to the  County of Kent currently being home to over 50,000 small businesses and with figures like that you really can see why it is the lifeblood of the County. With young people realising that starting a business is a career option it is important to give them every chance of success with the appropriate business support.

Young entrepreneur Ben Bartlett of Bush Grub was up next. An extremely quirky business that sells edible insects and promotes them as a sustainable food source for the future. Ben captured the audience well, although he did have a helping hand in the form of ‘Keith the Chameleon’ see below.  Bush Grub has been fortunate enough to secure a branding licence with ITV to use the ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here’ brand on their products. We were proud to recently feature Bush Grub as a Star Business on our blog and you can catch the full story here… 

Keith the Chameleon

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Let The Speed Networking Commence…

For those of you who do not know what speed networking is, it goes a little like this…

      1. First you need two rows of people seated opposite each other
      2. Set a time limit
      3. Start the timer
      4. Tell the other person as much as you can about your business
      5. Get them to tell you as much as they can about their business
      6. Swap business cards
      7. Time’s up – swap seats and start it over again with a new person
      8. Networking ends once you have spoken to every person
      9. Remember to follow up on any potential leads

It is an awesome way to get to speak to everyone in the room without having to gatecrash other people’s conversations, which can sometimes seem like the case at the more traditional networking event. It’s a great way to start a conversation and find out if there are any potential business leads in the room. The joy of it, is that it allows you to pinpoint a lead and extend the conversation further. All in all, it is a great way to boost business contacts and for any first timers it’s a great platform to be introduced to more traditional networking.

Speed Networking Kent

Happy 10th Birthday KAYE

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.