This month, The Artworks Elephant have partnered with local housing association Peabody, on an amazing new youth development programme called ‘Start it up!’. Start it up is a series of industry talks, workshops and community based programmes designed to give young people aged 18-25 the opportunity to develop an idea into a business venture.
Youth development coordinator, Harry Clucas, discussed the programme’s impact on the local community and why it is a good opportunity for young entrepreneurs : ‘It’s great working with young people – this is it’s 4th year running! In the first three years, we started in Hackney with a company called Boot Strap, and this is a progression of that idea. We saw a rise in demand for this programme in Southwark and Lambeth so we thought: let’s put it on here. It gets better every year!’.
Harry goes on to talk about what the course can offer young business-minded people in the future. ‘Our aim is to get young people to start up their own businesses. This programme gives them an opportunity to get out there and start the career they want. We also encourage networking skills; we want them to network with as many other people as they can so they can get the best chance once they start up their business.’
Start it up! also aims to help people whose businesses don’t quite work out – Harry says ‘we offer a wide variety of apprenticeships to get them into employment after the course as well’.
We spoke to a number of young people currently on this programme to find out what they have learnt in the first two weeks!
Meet some of the members!
Latoyah’s plan is to set up a website selling her own unique womenswear designs. Latoyah developed her idea during her studies in fashion design. She had previously tried to set up her business but didn’t carry on with the idea: ‘I did try to set it up, however having the [motivation] was one thing I lacked. This course helps me to be motivated and push towards my idea’.
Latoyah’s main reason for joining the course was to gain an insight on how she could develop her idea: ’ I would say its helped me gain more knowledge as well. It’s alright to start a business totally by yourself but it helps hearing other people’s ideas about how to run a business too”.
Mulema’s idea is to provide staff to hotels for jobs, such as house keeping and room service. Mulema has already started a business similar to this in South Africa where her husband and family live. She first developed the idea earlier this year whilst she was in South Africa. ‘I set up my business in South Africa when I went over there to visit my family. I really want to start up my business over here and Peabody are really helping me to do this’.
Mulema’s main goal is to get her business up and running by next year: ‘I am hoping that my business will begin soon, and I will be getting contracts. I want people to know who I am and what I do so I’m hoping by the end of this course I will have that sort of connection. I am really enjoying the course- it’s very educational and motivating, it’s really helped me to see the bigger picture and to think positively’
Hakeem wants to start up his own clothing line brand after being inspired by two of his friends who have done the same within the last 12 months. Start it up! is the first stage of his business venture and he says it has helped him gain the confidence he needs to pursue the idea. ‘Confidence is a big thing as I’ve had a lot of self-doubt in the past. It’s nice to get a good reaction from other people on my idea. I’ve learnt so much about confidence with what I want to do’.
Monique’s idea is to combine fashion with sports and dancewear. Her business idea began when she was in year 7 and she wanted to start designing clothes.
‘I’ve been doing dance and sport since a young age - it has always been a strong passion of mine. Now I work in a gym and I’m helping the community it has made me more aware that I could do something around this idea of fashion and sports. I originally wanted to become a lawyer but I realised I wanted to do something with my creative side’.
Monique has already tried to start up the business with some friends but due to her exams they had decided to put it on hold. Monique feels like not only has Start it up! helped her develop her idea but also invest in herself: ‘Although we’ve only been doing the course for two weeks now I feel that it has helped me to identify myself more and realise how much I actually want to do this; I’ve really come out of my shell and pushed myself ’.
Sandra has already started the process of starting up her ‘business for vintage’ company. Business for vintage is a wedding production event company, which is based on a DIY model. Sandra also wants to create workshops to show people how she makes her products, but mainly focus on doing clients' weddings.
She used a previous Peabody programme to help start up her idea and has done previous workshops at The Artworks to promote it.
Her idea dates back in 2013 when she was in her final year of university studying events design. ‘Back then I got in touch with Peabody and was able to put up a one-day event showing people how to DIY their weddings” Sandra returned to Peabody as she needed help with the next steps of her business. ‘This course has helped me so much already. Before I didn’t know where my business stood, so I am very grateful for the opportunity”