Birmingham's next generation of young entrepreneurs will be given a series of master classes in how to become a business success.
The city council's Enterprise Catalyst business support initiative is holding a free one-day event at the Library of Birmingham on 17 July.
EnterpriseGen 2014 is designed as a platform for young people aged 16-30 to explore enterprise as a career option and will bring together a host of experts to deliver a series of workshops and seminars.
Councillor Tahir Ali, cabinet member for development, transport and the economy, said: “As one of the youngest cities in Europe, Birmingham is an ideal location for this new enterprise event. We will be giving young people the opportunity to gain expert knowledge, get advice and guidance and to be inspired to become the next generation of successful entrepreneurs.
“I'm particularly pleased to see that there will be a range of start-ups who have already been supported by the Enterprise Catalyst, and who will be able to demonstrate just what can be achieved with the right support.”
The scheme is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and aimed at building an entrepreneurial culture in disadvantaged neighbourhoods as well as supporting existing businesses to increase productivity and create jobs.
Alina Masood, who set up children's soft furnishings company Cofi Coo with the help of a grant from the Enterprise Catalyst, said it was not just the financial support that helped her.
“We were kept motivated at all times and were encouraged to pursue different opportunities. We were highly encouraged to use social media actively. Our mentor was extremely helpful and kind to connect us with different contacts. In addition to having regular meetings it ensured that we were meeting targets and working efficiently,” she said.
One-to-one support and access to funding helped Tinashe Sibanda was able to expand his commercial cleaning business. A former Manchester United Academy footballer, Tinashe turned to self-employment when he found out was no longer able to play the sport. He has now amalgamated a number of smaller companies under the umbrella Arambee Group.
He said: “My first passion in life was football, and when my dreams of becoming a professional footballer came to a sudden end I was unsure what I was going to do. Through my time at school, I focused all my effort on football and gaining qualifications wasn't my priority. At this time, having no GCSE qualifications and a failed career in football made my future look all the more uncertain.
“Unfortunately, there are many people who are in a similar situation, but not having qualifications shouldn't stop anyone achieving their business dreams. With the support of the council's Enterprise Catalyst initiative, I am being guided through the process of starting my own community interest company. The project has been invaluable and because the support offered is maintained throughout my enterprise journey, I have the confidence needed to keep moving forward.”
Notes to editors:
Alina and Tinashe are available for interview, please call Sarah Kirby in the press office to arrange on 0121 303 3885