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.

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

Why now is a great time to think about starting a business

Right now the market is seeing a huge decrease in value with many businesses already going under due to COVID-19. There are many businesses who have concerns as to whether they can keep their staff through no fault of their own, and therefore many employees will have concerns for their jobs, perhaps just hoping it will all blow over and we will get back to where we were before lockdown.

So is now a good time to start a business?

Times are tough for everyone right now without the added pressure of not being able to do our usual daily activities, but this is when entrepreneurs flourish. Having a problem to solve, finding opportunities that might have obstacles right now in front of them, or create opportunities when they are none.

We have seen and supported incredible entrepreneurs that have had to pivot and adapt to the current climate, we’ve also watched people who have been furloughed explore hobbies and turned them into a business.

We saw a young woman who was furloughed by an airline company very early on into lockdown, and with uncertainty if her job would remain, so she began doing something to fill her time. She began baking, she used to do it in her spare time off if she had time off work, she found it a good way to stay busy and also give gifts to loved ones. Once she started sharing photos people wanted to buy them, and just like that she had customers.

This has been common for a lot of young people who have been furloughed and we have been absolutely blown away by their talent. We also saw another young woman who was furloughed by an estate agent and then found a love for making beautiful candles and she has now successfully started her own candle making business.

One of the best things about starting a business in Kent is there is support for you, and we love nothing more than seeing young people’s business thrive and grow. Having a mentor could be one of the most valuable assets in your business. The Kent Foundations Volunteer Business Mentoring Service is something we very proud to of.

This leads us on to tell you how the following businesses that started in the recession between 2008-2010 have gone on to have multi billion pound companies.

Uber – Founded in 2009 Revenue (2018) $11.27 Billion
Garrett Camp wanted to find a way to have a personal chauffeur without the high cost, therefore the idea of sharing the cost with others formed Uber. He didn’t require any overheads and worked primarily on the tech side before he launched properly in 2011. Uber now has 22 types of hire service across the world including Helicopter.

Airbnb – Founded in 2008 Revenue (2017) $2.6 Billion
Shortly after moving to San Francisco in October 2007, roommates and former schoolmates Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia came up with the idea of putting an air mattress in their living room and turning it into a bed and breakfast. They now offer three services within Airbnb with some properties even offering wedding venues.

Groupon – Founded in 2008 Revenue (2017) $2.84 Billion
Founder Andrew Mason wanted a way to connect business and customers on a large scale to offer products and services in a difficult time, it started off as a way of mass marketing for these businesses, and is now a hugely successful company.

Pinterest – Founded in 2010 Revenue (2019) $1 Billion.
Entrepreneurs Ben Silbermann, Evan Sharp and Paul Sciarra came together in 2010 to create Pinterest, a website and app that resembles a digital scrapbook.
More than 300 million people use the platform every month, according to Pinterest’s About page.

Now whilst these businesses are household names and all billion dollar companies they all have one thing in common, starting a business in a time others wouldn’t. They pushed the fear away and used their skills to adapt and create opportunity. So whilst right now it seems scary to think about starting a business, but if you get it right there is always an opportunity for success.

If you have a bit more time than before? this could be a great time to start planning and putting the groundwork in for a future in business.

If you would like to talk through a business idea or support with something you have just started get in touch using our enquiry page HERE

*all figures are taken from wikipedia pages

Crash course in SEO

With Hope Marshall – Support Local

As part of our series of specialist workshops during lock-down Hope Marshall joined us to talk about SEO to support local businesses improve their digital presence.

No 1 Top Tip…..Name your images. Depending on your website provider this can be done via the alt tag or on your desktop before you upload to your website by renaming the image name. It normally defaults to something like JPEG-0099. This is the bit you need to change.

City Healthcare Solutions have produced a FREE user guide for creating a healthy work environment at home.

James Burgess, Kent based business owner of City Health Solutions has produced a free guide to help everyone working from home during this period of lock-down. With many of us all now working from the kitchen table, or a make shift office in the spare room, have we really thought about our health and the impact this way of working could have on us.

James Burgess

James Burgess “My intention is simple, to help people working from home keep a healthy body, and healthy mind, throughout these uncertain times!

To find out more about City Healthcare Solutions click HERE

Local companies join force to ensure businesses across the county stay connected.

JK Online, Clockwork Moggy and Dragon Co-Working, all based in Medway, set up Together Self Isolated Business Networking on Facebook.

In just under three weeks, the community has gathered more than 1,000 followers.

One of those behind the network, Karl Cowell, set up his business JK Online, which offers digital marketing solutions, with best friend Joe Bennett two years ago….. Read more about what they have been doing HERE…..