This was the final in a series of workshops we have been delivering across West Kent. After success in Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells it was now time for us to hit Sevenoaks. So on Saturday 20th September we headed over to House in the Basement Youth Cafe to deliver a workshop to aspiring young entrepreneurs to provide:
Introduction to business planning
Creating and innovating business ideas
Introduction to promoting a business
It was a great success and everyone who attended showed a great enthusiasm towards business and were keen to get their ideas off the ground. We are now eager to carry on working with them by providing ongoing support through our trained Volunteer Business Mentors. They will be matched with a Mentor that suits their business support needs and will be able to meet with them for one hour per month to create action plans and discuss their business issues/ideas.
We are pleased to announce that we have been awarded funding from Awards for All a Big Lottery Fund initiative that funds small, community based projects across the UK.
The Edenbridge Enterprise Initiative will work with young people aged between 16-25 to provide enhanced skills, knowledge, confidence and self esteem in order to become gainfully employed or start their own business. Although the majority of West Kent is fairly urban, Edenbridge has been identified as a rural area within West Kent with high youth unemployment, with no secondary school coupled with infrequent transport links to nearby Tunbridge Wells and Sevenoaks. With a lack of employment opportunities in the area this has a direct result on some of the local young people, increasing the likelihood of low aspirations and self worth.
We feel it is important to address these issues so Kent Foundation for Young Entrepreneurs has teamed up with social enterprise Target Your Potential who will prepare young people with the necessary skills needed to enter in to employment. This will be paired with exploratory workshops delivered by us into starting a business. To further increase the chances of success young people who participate in the training will be able to access free support from both organisations through monitored work experience or Business Mentoring.
Be a part of it:
As part of the project we will be looking for local business owners and professionals to put themselves forward and get involved. In order to build a community based project and keep the support network within easy reach of young people the involvement locally is crucial. We are on the lookout for those who would be able to offer their services in the form of work experience or becoming a Volunteer Business Mentor. Your input could make a huge life changing impact to the life of a young person and not only that but we are almost certain that you will find the experience highly rewarding. It’s your chance to be a part of their future!
Not something young people immediately think of, but we think it should be a realistic option.
So on the 14th August we headed over to Swanley Youth and Community Centre and held a workshop for 16-19 year olds to discover, explore and find out more about what’s involved in starting a business.
It involved, effective introductions, confidence building and how to sell. The day was capped off with the group split in three teams to design/create their own business, promotional materials and exhibition space. Guests were invited in to visit the exhibition, pose questions to the ‘business owners’ providing a superb environment to practice what had been learnt throughout the day. Overall a great success with plenty of enthusiasm, creativity and thought provoking ideas! Here’s a few snaps from the day:
On Tuesday 10th June Kent Foundation for Young Entrepreneurs in partnership with The Enterprise Foundation hosted a whole day of business support activities in Maidstone under the working title ‘A Blast!’.
The sequence of events kicked off with the Maidstone Business Breakfast, followed by two business start-up workshops all topped off with a large business networking evening to celebrate business in Kent.
The Breakfast was kicked off by guest speaker Paul Nixon, Wilkins Kennedy who told the audience:
“The most enjoyable clients I work with have to be business start-ups. I get a lot of satisfaction from seeing a seemingly small idea transformed in to something much bigger. Being a part of that process on the way is highly rewarding.”
More than 30 people who were looking at creating their own employment through starting a business attended workshops. A range of people attended from the unemployed right through to students from Mid Kent College who were considering their career options after their studies.
To conclude the day young entrepreneurs, business start ups, established businesses and professionals from all across Kent joined a celebration of business at A Blast! The room was a real hive of activity with 10 young entrepreneurs exhibiting and three of them being interviewed on stage. Gemma Blacker – This Art of Mine kindly took charge of the stage to interview Amy McManus (below) and Lucy Hall of Kent Social Media.
Young entrepreneur, Amy McManus of AM Marketing expressed her gratitude on Facebook saying:
“What a great evening with some fantastic Kent businesses exhibiting! A fabulous event with the gang from Kent Foundation for Young Entrepreneurs. Some great businesses and people showing off their products and services!”
Philip Gearing of Foster Gearing the guest speaker for the evening spoke about his journey in business and how the support from Kent Foundation for Young Entrepreneurs back in 1990 spurred him on to never give up.
“It all started off at a small market one day where my business partner and I had sold next to nothing. But we learnt something special that day; never to be beaten. To always get back up again, never say no, try again and you will succeed”
Philip who is the man behind the WW1 memorial arch being opened by Prince Harry in Folkestone on 4thAugust this year went on to say:
“Don’t be scared. I don’t think anyone is ever completely ready, so the moment to do it is now. If you don’t ask you don’t get. I remember calling up my first potential large client with a proposal to rebrand their business and what did they say – YES”
Hey I’m Elle and I run an allergy specific cake company based in Tonbridge.
My main inspirations for Elle’s Cupcakery came from a 7 year old boy I was a nanny to whilst living in Australia. He had NEVER had a Birthday Cake as he was allergic to Dairy, Gluten and Sugar. I did not see this as a barrier, but as an opportunity, and so I made it my goal to make a cake that he could enjoy. The look on his face made it all worth while – this is what inspired me to start my allergy specific cake company!
So upon my return to the UK with my business ideas fresh in mind I decided I had to do something about. I felt there was a real need for for my service, there must be others out there that have never enjoyed cake. Just imagine a 70 year old who has never had the pleasure of a birthday cake – TRAGIC!
My first step was to learn more about business start up so I joined The Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme and successfully completed the course. In addition to this I also invested in a City and Guilds qualification.
Since launching Elle’s Cupcakery I have learnt that starting a business is not as scary as I thought. I am a huge fan of organisations such as Kent Foundation for Young entrepreneurs that offer young people business support to increase their chances of success. I am also a Young Ambassador at the Prince’s Trust and actively promote this kind of work by speaking at events and being part of a community of young people who show we can.
I love baking, enjoy listening to my customers needs and creating something to really make them feel special. I believe that every occasion is different, so therefore every cake is different. Ranging from weddings, childrens parties, receptions and special anniversaries, my motto (which most of you will probably share) is that:
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”
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.”