Enterprise week ends on a high

A comprehensive week-long programme of entrepreneurial events organised by Youth M.A.D.E UK and sponsored by Charlton Athletic Community Trust (CACT) came to an end last week with a pitching and networking event.

Supported by CACT, social enterprise Youth Made UK put on a week to provide young people with the tools, advice and knowledge needed to start their own business. Enterprise week culminated in a Dragon’s Den event at Woolwich Town Hall.

In the format of the television programme, young people presented business ideas to a panel of industry experts. The panel comprised entrepreneur, business coach and poet Rasheed Ige, gangs awareness training facilitator Jermaine Lawlor, Taking The Pixels owner Billy Collins, and Robert Kasanga, an author and founder of both Hackney Wick Football Club and the Big Ego Media Company.

The week was primarily attended by 16 to 21-year-olds from the boroughs of Royal Greenwich, Bexley and Lewisham.

The Dragon’s Den event was won by Alex Ojo, who plans to create a footwear range, with Best Igwe and Joseph Kuforiji in joint second. But all participants were awarded at least £100 towards their business start-ups.

Everyone who pitched did so professionally, and the panel were impressed with the standard.

Santander Business Banking then joined the dragons and CACT staff in an end-of-the-day networking session, which saw participants receive awards and certificates.

Marc Leckie, CACT’s Director of Youth & Inclusion, said:

“CACT is really pleased to support this enterprise event, and hopes it will be the first of many which we can build on and grow. I expect to see some of these young people trading on a high street soon!

“The standard of entries was incredibly high and it was great that each business walked away with some level of finance, and perhaps more importantly the opportunity to have a business mentor to help guide them over the next 12 months”, he added, referring to Youth M.A.D.E. UK providing the young entrepreneurs with mentorship for a year.

D. Aleski Brandy-Williams, Director of Youth M.A.D.E. UK, said:

"All in all the event was an overall success and the young people definitely impressed me with their business ideas, proposals and Dragon’s Den pitch."

Dale Mullings, CACT’s Enterprise Officer, said:

“I was pleased with how the programme turned out and it was a pleasure to support the young people who took part and to see their business ideas grow”.

Elise Dunkley, one of the young entrepreneurs, said:

“I thought it was the perfect opportunity to be able to get the experience I possibly needed for the future and my career!”

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