Where did your personal inspiration, entrepreneurial/leadership purpose come from – what shaped your views?
That’s a great question. I would say that working as a teacher in the early part of my career cemented my interest in young people, what we do to help them enter the world and the world that we are building for them.
Whilst I haven’t worked in education for sometime, in recent years I have become increasingly concerned about youth unemployment and how many of our young people are not being well prepared for their entry into the world of work.
That lead to the development and establishment of Building The Bridge whose purpose is to help young people help themselves get a job.
How does your organisation help young people?
We believe that there are two things that are key to finding work: Initiative and your own network. However, many young people are not developing these things as they emerge out of education.
(Building) The Bridge will combine these two things and help young people help themselves to find jobs.
To kickstart this we will take a group of young people and help them meet and interview a range of different professionals about their jobs and careers.
These videos will provide a growing collection which will build into a comprehensive library accessible to all.
To grow our interview library, we will then crowdsource other videos from schools, colleges, universities and other organisations that work with the young and unemployed.
In other terms, we want to do to youth unemployment, what TED (www.ted.com) and TEDx has done for the spread of ideas!
What have been your critical lessons learnt along your entrepreneurial journey?
- You don’t have to have all of the answers at the start - we are happy in the knowledge that we don’t have all of the answers right now but believe that we’ll find answers when we need them along the way.
- You have to get out and talk to everyone - I believe that if I go out and tell enough people about what we are trying to do then something great will happen. It’s working so far!
- Things will always change - Building The Bridge started off as a facilitated workshop idea and morphed into its present form which is video-led and driven by young people for young people.
- The market may only tell where not to go - Market research and market testing taught us a lot about where we shouldn’t go but it won’t necessarily tell you about where you should go. That’s up to you, your research, analysis and own ingenuity.
- Aim big but focus on the small - Whilst, we would dearly love to build something that impacts and helps 100’s, and 1,000s of young people, what we are doing would still be a success if we only helped one person. But, also by focusing on the individual we make the whole experience and what they create as valuable as possible for them and their peers.
What are the characteristics that in your experience entrepreneurs require now and in the future?
- Ability to learn new things
- Don’t be afraid of asking for help
"You’re mission should you choose to accept it is to keep a young mind"
What would be your 5 top tips for purposeful entrepreneurs?
- Enthusiasm and passion are infectious - talk with passion and enthusiasm about your project. If people hear and feel that you believe what you are doing matters, is important and will work then they’re more likely to help.
- Your are never too old to do or try something new. You’re mission should you choose to accept it is to keep a young mind.
- Stop thinking and start doing. Only when you start something can something happen.
- Always be looking, listening and learning. Opportunities, connections, partnerships, conversations, help etc etc are out there, you just have to look and listen for them.
- As Paul Arden once wrote: “It’s not how good you are. It’s how good you want to be.” Always be getting better.
Building The Bridge, 91 Lansdowne Place, Hove, East Sussex, BN3 1FN