Claire Young Founder of TeenBiz, an Entrepreneur Development Program for those Under 18

26 OCT 2011

Claire Young founder of TeenBizClaire Young, an apprentice finalist and youth enterprise trail blazer, is launching TeenBiz in November.

TeenBiz is the UK’s first business start up scheme aimed at teens 13-18. It will launch 1st November, to coincide with Global Entrepreneurship Month.

From the 1st January every month one student will receive up to £500 funding (they must match what we give them), a mentor and a start up pack. TeenBiz calls it ‘Business in a Box’ because it equips students with the items they need to do business for real; for example Companies House set up, business cards, a website, a stationary voucher, office space, USB sticks, logo design, legal advice and virtual PA service.

We interviewed Claire Young to find out why she started the program and how she plans to grow it over time.

Why did you found TeenBiz?

Since leaving the Apprentice 3 years ago I’ve worked across a number of enterprise initiatives which go into schools to encourage students into the world of business which are brilliant. However, the main feedback from teachers and students is that campaigns come and go; we are guilty of gearing up students to be enterprising and start their own business yet don’t provide them with a real way forward in doing this.

TeenBiz is a scheme where any teen 13-18 can apply for business support. It is the UK’s first business start up scheme for under 18s. Currently, you can be company director at 16 but cannot get funding or a business bank account until you are 18 – it’s crazy and doesn’t make sense!

Was there something you saw or experienced that made this the most natural programme to start?

I had a brilliant 14 year old work experience student in the office, Todd, and he is like the next Alan Sugar. A great business idea and he needed support to get his sandwich business off the ground. After 2 days of research trying to find funding, it was a big fat “No!” until he was 18 years old. I think that’s wrong. He’s capable now so why should he have to wait for 4 years?

A day doesn’t go by when you pick up a newspaper to read about youth unemployment and record numbers not wanting to go to college and university. We’ve reached crisis point and need to provide young people with alternative pathways – starting your own business and therefore TeenBiz is very much needed.

Is this a for profit business? A social enterprise? A charity? Do you accept donations?

TeenBiz is not for profit. It’s structurally set up limited by guarantee and clearly states in the company set up documents that it is not for profit. I hope people will donate as much as they can to the program. People, and businesses, can sponsor a student for just £500.

What’s the format of your support for teen-based businesses?

Over the next 3 years TeenBiz’s aim is to start 100 young entrepreneurs in business. Each winner will receive up to £500 funding, a business mentor and a “Business in a Box” start up kit! There will be key events throughout the year from winners to attend. To celebrate the first year of the scheme there will be a private dinner held with Peter Jones for example.

How can schools, churches and other youth-targeted organizations work with you to bring your programme to their teens?

My aim is to let every teacher in the UK know about TeenBiz. They are essentially the sales force who will let students know about this great opportunity.

Do your classes cost anything to attend? Is there a suggested donation you ask from kids or their parents?

The scheme is not for profit, free to attend. We would never ask students to pay, but we gladly receive donations. In fact we depend on them.

How can people help you bring this program to more teens?

Please spread the word about TeenBiz, if you send people to teenbiz.org.uk, or pass details to teachers, teens and parents about the program, that would be really helpful. Education groups and corporates are essential contacts. One has the students we want to serve and the other has the CRP funding to help the students.

Do you need more business leaders as volunteers to speak, teach, mentor, etc?

Yes please! If you are interested in helping the scheme please email info@teenbiz.org.uk

Do you have any entrepreneurs you’d like to showcase?

Not yet but as from the 1st January we’ll be shouting from the rooftops about the TeenBiz young talent!

What is your business background?

Since graduating from university with a science degree I worked in the corporate world for 3 large blue chips across marketing, sales and retail before taking part in the BBC1 The Apprentice show 2008. Since then I’ve set up www.schoolspeakers.co.uk and www.girlsoutloud.org.uk & consult across a number of education groups re enterprise.

  1. Fabulous. Truly great work.

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