Young Enterprise Diary - Ignite history

16th February 2017

 

Richard’s journey, so far!

 

In the Beginning

For me, it all started a couple of years ago, when I first heard about this ‘Young Enterprise’ thingy. I knew that it had something to do with young people, in schools and that it was related to business in some way. I then found out that a man who I have great respect for - a businessman called Darren Clark from Spotless Spaces - was involved in some way, that he was a ‘YE Business Advisor’, whatever that was, and this got me interested - “If he’s involved in it, it must be something worthwhile” - I reasoned to myself. I then met Caroline Tarbuck, who as well as being a great lead singer in a band, doubles as the Young Enterprise (YE) West of England Manager and her enthusiasm for YE was infectious, I just had to get involved!

So, there I was, a Young Enterprise ‘Business Advisor’. No exams taken, no real qualifications required, just a pulse really and frankly I was amazed that they wanted me! After all, to call me a Businessman is like calling Donal Trump a Politician – i.e. both of us are completely under qualified for the job and both of us could potentially make a real mess of it. However, in my case, luckily for the young people in the YE Team at St. Bedes, I don’t have the absolute power of a President and Miss Hancock, together with Mark Guatieri from Brand 51 - the other Business Advisor – both keep me in check. You see I’m really just a Salesman and know about as much about business as Donald knows about diplomacy. However, I thought that if there’s any selling involved, maybe I can be of some small assistance to the team.

 

My First Meeting

The first meeting was in October last year and I was immediately, sincerely and seriously impressed when I walked into the School. You how important first impressions are, yes? - I walked into the School on a wet and windy Thursday afternoon at the far end of the building, just as the pupils were rushing off home. I walked through a couple of doors and each time the pupils stopped and opened the door to let me through first. Then, I had no idea where the reception was and so I asked a pupil, a young girl, probably about 13 years old. To my delight, she said “Yes certainly, I’ll take you there”. And she did, some distance and I was very grateful. The school ‘felt’ good, clean, organised and there was something about the pupils.

I meet with the YE St Bedes School Co-ordinator Miss Hancock, who is a great credit to St Bedes and her passion for the Young Enterprise Project and what it stands for, is ‘tremendous’. Note: that’s a Donald word! Miss Hancock exuded amazing enthusiasm for both YE and her pupils and told me that I have a great group of pupils in the team I was going to advise. She then introduced me to the pupils and I quickly realised that this was indeed an excellent group of young people.

 

Impressed

Having had a number of Thursday afternoon meetings with these guys and interacting with them, I still find that I have to keep reminding myself that they are “Only 14 years old Richard!” and I am constantly impressed by their intelligence and maturity, for example: the written work that I see – e.g. emails that I receive – are just incredible, there is no way that I had that command of the English language when I was 14 – it’s like I’m dealing with 20 year olds!

 

Hectic

OK, so now it’s February and we are only weeks away from our Big Day – i.e. the Saturday showcase where we get to sell our wares at The Mall in Cribs Causeway and things are starting to get really hectic. One area that has been vital to get right is the branding for “Ignite” and the team owes a great deal to Mark Guatieri’s hard work, as the owner of a successful Branding Company – Brand 51 – he makes it look easy and I believe that it will really separate us from our competitors on the Big Day at The Mall. The banners, business cards and all of our marketing and branding is simply fantastic.

 

Cheeky

I am now really looking forward to our Big Day at The Mall, when I get to do what I love doing – i.e. selling to people. My approach is usually quite cheeky e.g. as a member of the great British public walks past our stand I will be heard saying things like “Tell me Sir, do you get a prize at the end of the day for wearing a hat like that?” or “Tell me young man, who cuts your hair, the Council?” – I find that in the main you get two reactions 1) they walk away and don’t smile – this way you immediately find out what sort of person they are and you are never going to sell anything to someone like that – we’ll I’m certainly not going to - or b) they smile, recognise and understand that I’m being a bit cheeky and then we engage, start a conversation with some humour flowing between us and maybe I make a sale!

 

I love Young Enterprise.

 


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