Andrew Deeley and Paul West (middle) with James Beeching and Paul Adams of Restoration Youth
A new venture, which aims to nurture a new generation of business talent, has been awarded funding of £120,000.
Innov8 On Sheppey is being set up with the aim of helping to create 80 jobs over the next three years by getting young Island entrepreneurs up and running.
The community interest company is converting 4,000 sq ft of office space in Restoration Youth, in Trinity Road, Sheerness, into a business incubator, a place where young people can receive help and advice on their money-making ideas.
It is hoped to be ready by the end of November, after which a panel of local business people will volunteer their time to help.
Kent County Council (KCC) has awarded first £50,000 as a grant through its Workspace Kent fund.
The remaining £70,000 will be split into two interest-free loans in 2014 and 2015 which is subject to the success of the incubator and further funding being obtained elsewhere.
The bid team included local businessman Andrew Deeley, Jamie Hutchinson, of the Isle of Sheppey Academy, Pete Giffen of Sheerness shop O.SO.U, Dan Pyke of Restoration Youth and Paul West, Simon Hill and Paul Lukehurst from The Island Partnership.
Mr Deeley said Innov8 wants to support young people with strong concepts and a clear direction but need a helping hand, or those with aptitude and drive but need help to come up with ideas.
He said it will also be an opportunity to put various people with particular skills together into a team.
He said: “There is no shortage of people with sound business ideas on the Island, however we do lack dedicated work-spaces and professional support to help get ideas off the ground.
“The Innov8 bid team managed to show the KCC Funding Committee that there was a definite need and a real collaborative effort being made by key organisations on the Island.
“We were also fortunate to have the support of MP Gordon Henderson, Andrew Bowles from Swale council and Paul Carter from KCC.”
Initial focus will be on helping those in the 16 to 24 age bracket, which has an unemployment rate of over 30%, but it could target the over 25s in the future.