Young entrepreneurs: Jack Parsons, Big Youth Group
Connecting big businesses with teenagers, Jack Parsons' Big Youth Group wants to improve the odds for young people looking to find employment
Name: Jack Parsons
Company: Big Youth Group
With no formal qualifications bar a few GCSEs, and problems of alcohol misuse at home as well as financial troubles, Jack Parsons’ all-too-familiar circumstances seemed certain to spell an underwhelming existence for the Essex boy.
While many people would have crumbled with such odds stacked against them, Parsons was determined to make something of himself, and saw the recruitment industry as a good place to start.
Ignored by businesses because he didn’t have a degree, Parsons finally got his first break in the sector after offering his services for three months, unpaid – certain he would prove his worth and win a full-time contract.
Eventually tasked with heading up the education desk, he was inspired to set up his own business after begrudgingly placing a less-than-adequate candidate into a job as head of English.
Believing he’d let the students in that school down and drawing on his own experiences as a NEET, Parsons launched yourfeed in June 2017 – after bagging an impressive £700,000 worth of funding.
A recruitment platform for out-of-work millennials, yourfeed managed to attract the likes of Facebook, Google and The Big Issue to use its services – which Parsons saw as the antidote to the outdated ways companies were hiring young people.
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Unfortunately, Parsons admits yourfeed wasn’t his “destiny” – with the business entering liquidation at the end of the year.
Still not deterred, the young entrepreneur picked himself straight back up again and, using failure as the best teacher, launched digital marketplace Big Youth Group just last month.
Teaming up with ex-Havas Media Group boss Paul Frampton, Big Youth Group aims to help young people, aged 18-30, start and grow a business, gain a full-time job and access new skills.
Trying to educate and change the employment attitude of big businesses, Accenture, Sage, Google and the Prince’s Trust have all already committed time and partnerships to the venture.
And Parsons has ambitious plans for a range of spin-offs too. He is looking to introduce a virtual youth currency, Big Youth Currency, which members can use to pay for things like coffee and gym membership, and an accelerator. The Big Youth Accelerator plans to help 1,000 start-ups founded by young entrepreneurs, and Jacqueline de Rojas CBE, president of TechUK, has already lent her support.
With a growing headcount of 10 employees and a six-figure turnover projected for 2018, if Parsons can learn from his first business his once unfortunate tale could take yet another unexpected, but deserved, turn.