A helping hand for the entrepreneurs of the future
5 Oct 2022
The Prince’s Trust is the UK’s leading youth charity. It believes each and every young person should have a chance at success. Through its Enterprise Programme, which LDC supports, the charity equips young people with the confidence, skills and funding to launch their own businesses. It also supports a more diverse set of future business leaders, as a quarter of the young entrepreneurs are from ethnic minority backgrounds and more than half are female. LDC’s partnership with the charity has so far helped more than 1,600 young people to start their own business and the new five-year partnership will allow LDC to help thousands more.
Kayleigh Taylor, 27, is one entrepreneur to have benefited from The Prince’s Trust’s support. Having been diagnosed with ADHD, she had grown up often being told at school that she was simply “naughty”. She certainly hadn’t imagined herself ever launching a business. But in 2020 she transformed her passion for cooking into a meal prep service called Klee’s Kitchen, based in Newcastle.
Launching a business was new to me. No one in my family had done it before. But everyone at The Prince’s Trust was really helpful and it gave me the support network I really needed at the time.”
“Launching a business was new to me,” says Taylor, who was previously a sales manager for a software company. “No one in my family had done it before. But everyone at The Prince’s Trust was really helpful and it gave me the support network I really needed at the time.” Taylor was given a mentor at The Prince’s Trust who helped her register the company and get everything up and running. She then received ongoing support to help the business to grow; today Klee’s Kitchen employs four delivery drivers, two full-time apprentices and one full-time member of staff.
She has big plans for Klee’s Kitchen and hopes to launch other businesses in the future. Taylor says the support she was given through The Prince’s Trust was invaluable and that schemes such as LDC’s Backing Youth Ambition partnership provide an important service in the UK. “We need more entrepreneurs and business owners in the local community, because it creates jobs and employment,” Taylor says.
“If I’m ever having a tough day, I remember there are now several people depending on me for their jobs, which feels quite rewarding. I don’t think I could have got where I am today without the support I received along the way.”
Starting a business can be daunting, especially if there are high costs involved because your company is developing a new product. The good news is that the UK has a highly supportive entrepreneurial ecosystem. Whether you need advice on funding, gaining customers or help with the administration and paperwork that goes with running a business, there will always be a programme or an individual willing to help and support you.
Taylor says having a support network was essential to getting her business off the ground and to keep it growing. Her top tips are to not be afraid of asking others for help and to accept that it may take time before your business starts to get the results you want.
“It takes ambition and drive to start a company and to keep it going,” she says. “Rome wasn’t built in a day and your business certainly won’t be. Surround yourself with like-minded people because most of those you meet, you can learn something from.”
Solid foundations for the next generation of innovators
Behind some of the big tech success stories of the past few years lies a UK software company that’s supporting the entrepreneurs of the future.
UK entrepreneurs have a strong reputation for coming up with answers to problems facing society. Solid Solutions, which provides engineering software to businesses across the country, says UK entrepreneurs are leading the way in artificial intelligence and automation, and are using innovative technology to address challenges such as climate change, waste reduction and space exploration.
To help these entrepreneurs get their cutting-edge technologies off the ground, Leamington Spa-based company Solid Solutions runs an entrepreneur programme to support founders in the early stages of launching their businesses. This involves a year’s free access to Solid Solutions’ CAD package, which helps companies design sophisticated 3D prototypes, along with technical support and advice on where they may get funding.
“The companies we work with are often designing complex and sophisticated products and solutions,” says Mark Tooley, who leads the Solid Solutions entrepreneur programme. “We try to support them as much as we can to fill in any gaps in their knowledge.
“Our entrepreneur programme is a key part of our mission, as it helps us find and support the next generation of businesses who will hopefully go on to be leaders in innovation.”
The programme has helped around 900 companies since launching in 2016, many of which have gone on to be hugely successful. These include PlasmaTrack, which uses green energy to clean rail tracks and enable trains to run more efficiently. Tribe Tech, which is revolutionising the mining industry by enabling autonomous exploration drilling, is another company that Solid Solutions supported in its early days.
The support that Solid Solutions provides to the next generation of entrepreneurs was a key reason why LDC invested in the business in 2020. During the partnership, LDC helped the management team to grow the company. “LDC fully supported our strategy. They encouraged us to be bold with our plans, and to act quickly and efficiently for the benefit of our customers. We could not have asked for a more supportive and engaging partner,” says Alan Sampson, CEO of Solid Solutions.