Young Enterprise celebrates 50 years in Chatham

Young Enterprise celebrates its 50th anniversary.
Young Enterprise celebrates its 50th anniversary.

Young Enterprise celebrates its 50th anniversary

by business editor Trevor Sturgess

Young Enterprise, the organisation that gives students a hands-on feel for business, is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its founding in Chatham.

Since Sir Walter Salomon came up with the idea, one million 15-19 year-olds have taken part in the charity’s flagship Company Programme. It has since spread across the nation and overseas.

They think up a service or product, develop, market and sell it, and produce accounts. Some ideas have been introduced commercially. Many former YE participants have gone on to successful business careers.

Sir Walter’s son William, YE president, said: “I know that if he were alive today my father would be extremely proud of the legacy Young Enterprise has created for young people in the UK.

“As well as giving young people the skills and knowledge they need, Young Enterprise gives them the confidence to be independent individuals with a thirst for success that characterises all the best entrepreneurs.”

To mark the golden anniversary, this year's Kent final is returning to its roots by being staged in the Pilkington Building, Chatham Maritime, on May 1.

Research has found that YE alumni are twice as likely to end up running their own firms as their peers. Their businesses have a larger turnover, are more likely to employ people, are more innovative and their owners are more resilient in surviving the recession.

Hannah Jones, 25, from Dartford, is social media and marketing executive for Bromley-based Ecce Media. She helped found a YE jewellery business which won a Best Product award, made enough money to cover costs and £300 profit.

“Before Young Enterprise, I wasn’t really interested in business and deliberately avoided Business A-level,” she says. “But after starting a YE Company, everything changed.”

She enjoyed building something from scratch, learning about number crunching/cost prices/profit margins, and team working.

YE influenced her to take a marketing and business degree, and make business her career.

She has since used the skills of problem solving, project management, budgeting, organisation, market research and teamwork learned during YE.

“Young Enterprise was a real eye-opener – it certainly showed me how easy it was to start a business if you have the right people around you. The Company Programme has a huge role to play in getting young people interested in business which is particularly pertinent as new businesses are Britain’s future and will help us heal recession wounds.

“Whenever I’m approaching a new client or a frighteningly big business, I think of the programme because it serves as a reminder that every business has to start somewhere.

“If young people can grasp these concepts before leaving school, they’ll be much better geared up for their career which will involve a business in some shape or form.”

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More