Volunteers Give 750 Hours to Mentor Kent’s Young Entrepreneurs

Over the past year over 80 Business Mentors have contributed 750 hours of their time to help young entrepreneurs across the county to develop their business skills and initiatives. With 24 new Mentors trained during 2014 Kent Foundation is well placed to provide the valuable help and guidance that is needed to turn ideas into successful business propositions. As well as offering direct personal 1-2-1 support to 37 young people through a minimum commitment of one hour a month, Mentors have also organised, delivered and raised funding for a range of business support programmes.

Other volunteers have helped with social media, events management and promotional activities.

Allan Mowatt -Chairman of Kent Foundation for Young EntrepreneursKent Foundation Chairman, Allan Mowatt said: ‘Sharing experience and giving tangible support is key to giving young people the confidence and skills to reach their potential. Our Mentors do a fantastic job but equally important are the young people who have volunteered their time to support us. This has included work experience opportunities, placements in the office, event organisation of the Sandwich Enterprise Initiative and our annual event A Blast! Helping promote entrepreneurship has been supported by young people especially in Thanet.’

‘We also had a first this year in that two young business people volunteered their time as Business Mentors and successfully completed their training in September. Their motivation comes from recognising the key part played by their business mentor when they started their own business.’

Kent Foundation Volunteer Business Mentor

Bryan Hall a trained Kent Foundation Mentor said:

“Get on a training course as soon as possible because you’ll benefit from it either through the satisfaction of helping, or with your own business”

Kudzi Synos, Managing Director of Kudz Footwear - Photo by Tom Phillips

The benefits of mentoring are summed up by young entrepreneur Kudzi from Kudz Footwear:

“I definitely recommend it to anyone just starting out. Before I started it was just a hobby, the mentoring helped me narrow everything down to what I needed to be successful”

Allan Mowatt added: ‘The Kent Foundation is successful because many different people, do many different things over many, many hours each year. This year has been an exceptional year, with more people doing more. They all deserve our thanks for supporting the present and future Kent economy by helping young people start up their businesses.’

To find out more about becoming a Volunteer, a Business Mentor or to sponsor our charity, get in touch and we’ll be more than happy to meet and have a chat over a coffee 🙂

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

Belle’s Star Business of the Month – March 2014

The Star: Leanne WoodBelle's Clothing and Acessories

Description: Belle’s sells second hand clothing and new jewellery. We have a range of both men’s and women’s clothing, some still with tags on.  Don’t forget my accesorised shoes too.

Get In Touch: Facebook


Leanne Wood - Belle's Sandwich

Belle’s ~ Preloved clothing and accessories is run by me – Leanne Wood. How I work it, is a little bit like a dress agency. For those of you who are not familiar with this concept, people bring me their preloved clothes and I sell them on a 50/50 basis. I find this works well, as I have no outgoings and really feel that recycling is the way forward…

Belle’s is situated in Sandwich on the premises of Delf Farm Shop which is run by my Auntie and Uncle. Having seen how their business works has always interested me and sparked my interest to start up on my own. After leaving school I just wasn’t keen on the idea of going to University due to the high costs and the uncertainty of a job after graduating. So I felt starting a business was the right option for me. Creating employment for yourself is hard work, and there is a lot to learn but I enjoy it and there is a huge amount of self satisfaction that comes with it.

As everybody knows, the economic climate at present is lacking a little confidence, so I wanted to accomplish two objectives:
1. To start my own business
2. Bring more customers to the farm shop.
I am a great believer that diversification is a key element to helping a business survive. That’s where my idea for Belle’s came in. It’s something quirky, useful and a little bit different and puts a whole new twist on why customers will want to pop in and visit the site.

Belle's Customised Shoes SandwichNo business start-up can run entirely smooth and I have had my fair share of hurdles to overcome. The main problem I had was a battle with the council over planning permission, which has recently been approved after nine gruelling months. It was difficult to advertise the business whilst this case was in process as I could not be certain of the future of my business.

Word of mouth advertising has been bringing in most of my customers but the next step for me is to plan and implement a large advertising campaign. I am looking to print and distribute leaflets, increase my presence on social media and to really engage with my customers I’ll hold various open days. The Mayor of Sandwich has been a huge support and even voiced his approval towards a large chain of Belle’s preloved stores… So who knows? Onwards and upwards.

Oh and don’t forget my customised shoes, these are absolutely fantastic for weddings, proms, parties or maybe just an everyday splash of bling.

My one and only business tip that I could give would be: No matter what stands in your way; Overcome it. Don’t move around the mountain, climb it. Never -ever- give up on your dreams.