6 mentoring organisations to help young entrepreneurs get started
With growing numbers of people choosing to go into business for themselves, there are now more sources of advice for entrepreneurs than ever before. While they range in quality and independence, whether as a friendly ear, shoulder to cry on, or as a mean to finding finance, it’s worth considering what they’ve all go to offer.
The Prince’s Trust At 21 years old, The Prince’s Trust scheme has come of age itself. It provides financial assistance and business support throughout the UK (with the exception of Scotland which has its own scheme) and focuses on young people who have struggled at school, have been in care, are long-term unemployed or have been in trouble with the law.
The cash on offer comes in the form of startup loans of up to £5,000 at 3% per annum and as part of the deal you also receive assistance from a business mentor. To apply, approach your local area office where you’ll be expected to prepare a business plan to pitch for the money. Those aged 18-30 years old can apply for the Business Programme. www.princes-trust.org.uk or call 0800 842 842
Shell LiveWIRESince 1982 Shell LiveWIRE has helped encourage enterprise amongst those aged between 16-30 by offering year round help and advice. The range of business publications and training packs covers all the topics budding entrepreneurs need to know, from managing people to marketing and HR.
In addition there are over 100 co-ordinators nationwide who can provide one-to-one advice on starting up. While not providing loans or grants Shell LiveWire also runs an award scheme where entrepreneurs compete for the £10,000 prize and the title of young business person of the year. www.shell-livewire.org
The Big Small Business Initiative It’s easy to overlook the BSBI but this non-profit making partnership offers small businesses in the UK good advice, support and information from a variety of sources including HM Customs & Excise, Inland Revenue and the Patent Office.
It requires membership, but by doing so you’ll gain access to free business seminars and advice days, free consultation, help with accounting and assistance on a whole host of topics. www.bsbi.co.uk
Business Link It’s likely you’ve heard of Business Link without knowing exactly what it does or how it helps young entrepreneurs like you. Managed by the Small Business Service – a government agency created to champion the cause of small businesses – this national network of agencies offers advice, information and resources to help you on your way to success.
For many of today’s successful entrepreneurs it was their first port of call and, though you will be excepted to contribute something to the cost of the service your receive, you’ll get access to expert knowledge on all kinds of issues from e-commerce to exporting. www.businesslink.org
National Business Register One of the key issues you’ll likely to have to tackle when starting up a new business is coming up with a name for your venture not already in use, registering it and any associated logos, trademarks and websites.
It’s a complicated process but the National Business Register can be a big help as it can offer everything under one roof and only charges for the cost of registration itself. In addition it will also help you set up all types of UK and offshore companies quickly, efficiently and hassle-free. www.anewbusiness.co.uk
Young Enterprise UK Founded in 1963, Young Enterprise runs a range of business education programmes for over 150,000 youngsters every year.
Participants get first-hand experience in running a company through Young Enterprise’s partnership with over 2,000 businesses across the UK. The organisation aims to improve entrepreneurial skills at an early age, giving young people a valuable introduction to the business world.
Although most of Young Enterprise’s schemes are run in schools, the organisation also has a Graduate Programme and offers runs programmes for those aged under 25 in custodial institutions.
Run by an army of 11,500 volunteers, Young Enterprise relies on the business community and the government for support. www.young-enterprise.org.uk
Launchpad London-based enterprise group offering free support and councelling to young people. Launchpad aims to help young people discover and develop their enterprising talents and holds free workshops and events in addition to its free one-to-one counselling services. Anyone aged 14-30 is welcome, whether they’ve already got a business idea or not. www.businesslaunchpad.org