Young people are supposed to be right off business, according to a poll which showed that almost half of those questioned see enterprise as “dog eat dog”.
TV ‘reality business’ shows like The Apprentice and Dragon’s Den have been blamed for the widespread negativity towards the world of business, claimed David Kean of online corporate growth consultancy Caffeine on Demand.
Mr Kean said: “We have all, but particularly younger people, been ravaged by Dragons and soured by (Lord) Sugar.
“A generation of bright, decent people has been put off going into business because they believe that you have to be a ruthless, fictitious stereotype.
“The ghastly reputation that the world of business has managed to acquire is a danger to our economy, a danger to our young and huge pity for us all.”
If this is the case, then no one told the students at Spalding High School who took the Best Marketing and Best Overall Company prizes at this year’s South Holland Young Enterprise Awards.
The students formed their own company, Esscential, producing and selling luxury scented candles made with wax extracted from soya beans.
Managing director Amy Tall said: “We were keen to promote our local area and also keen to support local businesses, using a company in Surfleet called Graphix to produce our elegant packaging.
“As a company, we put a huge amount of effort into our marketing as we wanted our product to be elegant, subtle and understated, so we designed our logo accordingly.
“Overall, taking part in the Young Enterprise scheme has been equally an educational and entertaining experience as the scheme has given all of us an invaluable insight into the basics of business and self-employment.
“I am sure that all of us, unknowingly perhaps, are using the skills we have developed over the past year in our everyday lives.”
A recent survey by business research specialists Duedil found that the number of companies formed by under-35s jumped by 70 per cent from 145,104 in 2006 to 247,049 in 2013, 74 per cent of these being men against 26 per cent of women.
Ex-Spalding High School student Kerstin Lankey (20), who set up pet portraits business Pintoleenibod Portraits at her home in Spalding last August, said: “I didn’t want to do A-levels and go to university, so I decided to become a full-time artist after leaving my job with a web design company in Bedfordshire.
“I then registered my own business and invested in some start-up things like studio, desk and materials from my savings.
“After that, I set up a business page on Facebook which is where I get most, if not all, of my business from as I spread the word and raise the profile of my business.
“I also created and designed my own website, something I learned to do at my previous job, but I couldn’t have done it without the help and support of my family, my boyfriend and especially my dad Rob Lankey who helped me set up, gave me advice and encouragement throughout.
“I don’t think I would have been able to set my business up, from a crazy dream of mine, without him.”
Parents figure strongly when it comes to the main influence on young people to strike out in business at a relative young age.
Lucy (22) and Emma Goldsmith (30) of Morton are such an integral part of their father Ken’s painting and decorating business that when he suffered ill health early last year, the sisters stepped in and helped to triple its turnover.
Emma said: “The basis of the business was there already as our Dad had been self-employed for some time, making a name for himself in renovating and decorating people’s homes.
“However, due to Lucy working with him and completing her apprenticeship, we realised a name change was required which also proved to be a good marketing tool.
“You will always see ‘Someone & Sons’, but very rarely ‘K Goldsmith & Daughters’.
Along the A15 from Morton is Molly Clegg (20) of Market Deeping who took over as owner of Murano Silver nearly two years ago.
The former Deepings School student said: “One of the things I’ve learned is to be more assertive, determined and to test myself because if I wanted to learn everything about business before doing it, it wouldn’t have worked.”