Last year I wrote up 5 reasons to get involved in Young Enterprise, now after being involved for nearly 18 months Ive added a few more reasons.
Over the last few months I’ve been involved in young enterprise a national charity aimed at getting young people
involved in running and learning about businesses. The company program gives the students the chance to come up with their own product, manufacture it and then sell it. The students get hands on with sales, marketing, production and resourcing. They provide a business plan at the beginning and a company report at the end before finally standing up on stage to present to a panel of judges who decide if they are deserving of progressing to the next round of judging which eventually cam lead to the national, European and world finals.
For me the involvement in YE over the last few months has been a great experience, here are 5 reasons why you should get involved in young enterprise.
First and foremost if you get involved your guaranteed to have fun. Working with the students on developing their product and selling it brings a number of challenges and more often than not your guys are going to come up with a out of the box idea to solve those challenges.
When all the reports are in and the marketing flyers and leaflets have been handed out and your sat at the finals watching your guys present what they have been doing its incredibly gratifying. Seeing the progress they have made over the last few months and how they dealt with the problems they encountered will have been really interesting. At the culmination of all their efforts, the finals night you’ll be immensely pleased with how they have developed and I wouldnt be surprised if you’re more nervous then they are!
3. Relearn business basics
All to often we rely on software and technology to run processes and aspects of our businesses so getting into a small start up business as these are is brilliant for refreshing your skills and knowledge on things such as running marketing campaigns and manufacturing products to a high standard of quality without of any of the tech you might use in your day to day job. It’s also really good for reminding you just how to do things like balancing balance sheets and calculating VAT liabilities without the help of your accounts software.
4. Develop your ability to work with others
This might sound abit of a weird reason but if you work in the same office with the same people everyday, you can get into habits and behavior so getting out of the office and working with the students is an excellent way of giving you the chance to work with people you wouldn’t normally work with. You can be pretty certain that they will come up with concepts and ideas for things that you or your work colleagues probably would have never thought of.
5. Potential investments
In the perfect world we would all be doing things out of the kindness of our heart, unfortunately thats not the case and the banks wouldnt take kindness in payment for your mortgage anyway so if your the sort who is always looking for a good investment opportunity then YE may well be the place you can find it. I have been really surprised by the excellent products that the students have come up with, with some having real commercial potential to sell in the real world. There have been products which had been sold into national retailers in the past so you never know, their idea could be the next best thing.
UPDATED with 3 more reasons to get involved in young enterprise
6. Increase your business contacts
One thing that’s been really beneficial for me is being able to meet other business people in the area and really get to know them. Networking events are good but can be over all to quickly and if you don’t manage to talk to everyone then you may have missed an opportunity. Whereas being involved with YE you get to meet the same people on a regular basis and really get to know what they do.
7. Increase awareness of your business
Not only can you increase awareness of your business by networking with other adviser’s but there may also be sponsorship opportunities. For example in the Stafford and Stone area businesses can sponsor some of the awards that are handed out at the finals evening. This is a fantastic chance to get your brand associated with Young Enterprise and supporting the development of young people.
8. New product opportunities
In reason 5 to get involved in young enterprise I said that if you were lucky the product your group choose to make may go on to sell really well and get picked up by a national brand. However its not just the product the team go with that could have potential to do well. During the early stages of your teams development there will be a rush to choose a product and start manufacturing it. As part of this every team will probably spend the first few weeks going through a vast array of potential product ideas. These will inevitably include lunch boxes, t-shirts, coasters and mugs. Once these are out the way real product opportunities start to be discussed. Ive found that there have been a fair few product ideas that havent been chosen by my teams that could sell well if they were made so if you’re looking for product opportunities for your business then these failed product ideas might be winners for you.
Have you been involved in young enterprise and did you enjoy it? Do you think it’s worth you getting involved? Let me know your thoughts.