By Daniel Hunter
100 young Londoners are bidding to be named young entrepreneurs of the year in the Inspiresme Week 2014 final, a challenging Dragons' Den style competition that takes place at City Hall.
Aged 16-18, teams of students from seven London schools and Newham youth charity XLP have spent the last week shadowing small business leaders, working with a variety of Workspace Group's entrepreneurial customers, operating in sectors ranging from marketing to graphic design to photography, including Entrepreneur First and Shareight, which had the most successful fundraise on Seeders to date. Having gained valuable experience through practical exposure to the world of business, on Friday the students will have the opportunity to present their own entrepreneurial business ideas.
Each team has been set a challenge to develop a business idea to showcase their entrepreneurialism and will work alongside representatives from Business in the Community (BITC) and business volunteers, before making a Dragons' Den style presentation to a panel of judges.
Now in its third year, Inspiresme Week was set up by the Mayor of London in partnership with Workspace Group PLC, London's leading provider of tailored office space to new and growing businesses. Workspace over the past two years has worked with its own SME customers to provide placements to 70 of the capital's young people.
Inspiresme Week is part of the Mayor's drive to ensure young Londoners are given opportunities to learn, gain experience and develop the skills they will need to compete in a global marketplace, whilst promoting entrepreneurship and links between schools and businesses.
Munira Mirza, Deputy Mayor for Education and Culture, said: "One of the reasons for London's success as a great world city is the ideas, innovation and dynamism of its entrepreneurs. We want to unlock the potential of young Londoners, through schools, but also through apprenticeships, volunteering and placements like those organised for Inspiresme Week. I hope everyone taking part feels they have learned something over the past week and that they will have gained the confidence to take forward ideas they have in the future."
Jamie Hopkins, Chief Executive Office of Workspace Group PLC, said: "What makes Inspiresme Week work is strong collaboration, passion and a commitment to London’s young people. The Mayor of London and Workspace Group are ambitious and have a strong vision for London. We know there are many other small businesses and large companies like Workspace Group that can offer young people an experience that gives them the insight and courage to create their dream career. We want to inspire more companies and schools to join us in building the futures of London's young people."
Caroline Rowley, Senior Manager, Education at Business in the Community, said: "At Business in the Community we are proud to be involved in an initiative that gives young Londoners the opportunity to shadow successful entrepreneurs. It's important for young people to have exposure to a wide range of opportunities to ensure they are fully prepared for life after education. inspiresme week has opened the door to a whole host of businesses that can excite and inspire our young entrepreneurs of the future to make their dreams a reality."
Companies that offered placements during Inspiresme Week: Tax Assist; POW Architects; Indigo; The Barton Partnership; Harriet Sanders; Tilt; TRUE212; Yes Programme; David and Sanders Estate Agents; Under-rated Fashion Label; Snap Dragon; Cycle Confident; Buddy Bounce; Diamond Factory; Interlife Pictures; Hiep Doan; Entrepreneur First; Hot Patootie; Nafisa Tosh Studio; Jennifer Newman Studios; Alison Price; CODE; Silverglade; Enypictures Media; Haim Butler; Offkut; TTM Healthcare; Carniege Orr; and Shareight. ENDS
Join us on