The PR Guru

January 27, 2012


Filed under: Uncategorized — richardswancott @ 5:33 pm
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One of my other roles is as the Chairman of the North Staffordshire Area Board of Young Enterprise, which basically means I’m responsible – along with my team of other volunteers on the board – for raising the profile of YE in the area and bringing in more sponsorship.

We had a real drive to engage with the business community last year and as a result we have managed to bring another nine teams of young entrepreneurs on board this year (schools and colleges enter teams for the Company Programme competition – sadly though it isn’t free, which means they either have to find the money themselves or link up with a local business).

That’s a great result – we had 11 teams in 2010-11 so we have almost doubled that for 2011-12 – and we have to thank the local business community for really getting behind us!

You’ll be able to see the results tomorrow, at our annual trade fair at the Potteries Shopping Centre in Hanley (we’ve had to organise two actually – one tomorrow and one next Saturday – to accommodate everyone!).

Six teams of young entrepreneurs will be promoting their wares from trade stands dotted around the centre, and for many it will be the first time they have ever had to sell direct to members of the public (rather than to their friends and family).

Although we have doubled the numbers this year, we can always improve, and our ultimate goal is to have a team from every school and college in North Staffs in the competition. To reach our goal though, we will need more volunteers and more sponsors.

So if you’re interested in the next generation of entrepreneurs in our area, here are three reasons why you should get involved with Young Enterprise:

1. It’s a unique experience: taking part in the Company Programme gives young people practical experience of running a business. They have to come up with an idea, raise their own capital, keep accounts, pay tax, market and sell their product/service, and write company reports (similar to business plans). This is something they can’t pick up from a book!

But it’s not just a unique experience for the students – we give local businesspeople the rare opportunity to mentor the young people through the process, and see them grow as people and as businesspeople. Many of our volunteers love being involved and are truly inspired by the process.

2. It improves career prospects: universities look favourably on participation in Company Programme, so our students are more likely to reach the uni of their choice by taking part. The skills they pick up have an impact on their results in maths, English and other subjects too.

Not only that, the Company Programme shows young people that setting up their own business is a real option for them – so they have alternatives if they don’t want to continue in education when they leave school. And they will also have business contacts which could be useful later on.

Companies have been so impressed with some YE students that they have offered them jobs, and helped to fund their university studies.

3. It raises young people’s self-esteem: running their own business, and doing it successfully, makes young people more confident and raises their aspirations. The trade fairs are a great example of this – many are meek and retiring at the beginning of the day, but by the end of it they are almost unrecognisable! Some have to be restrained from running after shoppers to tell them about their products!

North Staffordshire suffers from many issues, such as low levels of attainment in schools, and high levels of unemployment, teenage pregnancy and benefit dependence. I often think this is mainly down to low self-esteem – not thinking we are worthy or capable of any better – so anything that can make young people value themselves more highly has got to be a good thing, surely?

So, if you really want to make a difference in North Staffordshire, and inspire young people to consider setting up their own business, or to greater heights in their careers, then maybe Young Enterprise is the charity for you!

By all means give me a shout on 01782 472035 or 07880 733138 if you’d like to know more. Or come along to our event at The M Club, Festival Park on Tuesday 7th February (6pm-8.30pm), where we will be talking more about the Company Programme and what’s involved – both from a volunteer perspective and from a sponsor perspective.

Let’s drive Young Enterprise forward in North Staffordshire and make the area a beacon of positivity for once!


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