Toby Archer, Buntingford’s award-winning cheesemonger, talks to Enterprise YOU! participants about what it takes to be an entrepreneur. Photo credit: Luis Ignacio Guerrero
The second weekend of June saw Buntingford, Hertfordshire play host to nine young entrepreneurs from all across Europe. Arriving for Enterprise YOU!, a two-day training event organised by Peace Child International, the participants were all at different stages of developing their start-up. With ideas ranging from an NGO to promote sustainable entrepreneurship and volunteering abroad to a marketing service for furniture-makers, each individual hoped to gain something different from the intensive weekend focusing on the skills needed to establish a successful venture.
For the course of the weekend the participants took up residence in the Stables, the onsite accommodation at the PCI Headquarters in Buntingford. The first day of the training event focused on developing the ideas of the entrepreneurs into a more concrete form. In a seminar delivered by Neil Prem from Future Possibilities, the participants were encouraged to identify their passion in order to establish a sense of direction for their career paths. A core part of this was the idea that “where your deepest joy meets with the world’s greatest need, there you will find your passion”, which underscored the social enterprise values that many of the participants were pursuing. With a greater sense of the issues that mattered most to them, the entrepreneurs then took part in a range of exercises run by Janne Geurts, PCI’s Director of Youth Job Creation, focusing on gaining a better understanding of the business creation process. Not wanting to exhaust the participants, the day ended with punting and a meal in nearby Cambridge.
The second day opened with further seminars on the practicalities of establishing an enterprise, with a whistle-stop tour of topics ranging from market research to the art of financial forecasting. The weekend then took a more practical turn with a visit to The Cheese Plate, an award winning cheesemonger and local enterprise whose owner, was more than willing to answer every question that the Enterprise YOU! participants might have. Again, the importance of passion and drive was stressed, with further emphasis on self-reliance and a focus on quality of service. One participant remarked that the visit to The Cheese Plate grounded the theories that she had heard all weekend into the reality of establishing an enterprise, expanding her understanding of what it means to be an entrepreneur. The weekend culminated in a Dragon’s Den-style pitch, where the entrepreneurs combined the skills and knowledge they had acquired over the weekend with their developed business idea to present the beginnings of a viable enterprise. The experience allowed them to gain valuable feedback and further refine their ideas.
EnterpriseYOU! helps over 300 people every year refine the skills and knowledge needed to establish their own enterprise, providing training and workshops designed to build confidence and address some of the main issues encountered in early-stage start-ups. Individuals wishing to find out more about the event should email Janne Geurts at firstname.lastname@example.org.