Despite their energy and raw talent young people across London experience disproportionately higher levels of unemployment. Many of them have brilliant ideas for businesses but their lack of experience can hold them back. They also have very different learning approaches to older people and enterprise training and support needs to be adjusted to cater for these changing needs.
Now in its second year our Start Out Start Up (SOSU) for 18-30-year-olds (funded by Walcot Foundation) is identifying and enabling some amazing young talents.
SOSU is a one-year programme featuring targeted marketing and recruitment – particularly for the hard-to-reach, an intense month of training then nine months of business incubation support. Business clinics are accompanied by a programme of supported access to welfare and money advice. The programme features three network events, first to graduate and launch the new business, then to showcase and finally to regroup, re-motivate and further develop ideas.
In 2017 the major showcase event was the Lambeth Country Show, where four beneficiaries were supported to trade for the first time.
By participating, all beneficiaries automatically benefit from newsletters, social media promotion, invitations to a range of events, introductions to business development opportunities and offers of further training. Four students went on to receive further training from us. For a first venture into focused support for young people, we are very proud of achievements and managed to exceed all forecast outputs.
For one student, Nequela Whittaker, the course resulted in her taking her new business (Committed Empowered Originals) to a new level. Her recent successes include:
- Lead expert to camera on a Channel 5 documentary “GIRLS IN GANGS”
- Representative for people at risk in gangs on a London Live news hour
- Paid youth-worker at Knights Youth Centre supporting a regular caseload of 10 to 15 girls.
- 15 would graduate the training
- 8 would continue to engage with the network
- 8 would reach test trading level
- 5 of the 8 would register with HMRC
- 2 would provide employment for others
- 17 graduated
- 10 engage
- 11 reached test-trading level
- 7 of the 11 registered
- 3 regularly employ