Prince’s Trust & RBS A-Z of Young Businesses: ‘E’ – Scott Adams: Exotic Zoo

Scott, 29, from Telford, left education and took on short-term jobs, but was left disheartened when he struggled to find permanent work.
He recalls: “It was really difficult to find a permanent job. I did work experience, voluntary work, and short-term contracts. However by 2009, when the recession started, even those opportunities were really hard to come by.”

Noticing that a lot of his friends were experiencing the same difficulties, Scott started to think that the only way to stay ahead in your career was by creating your own opportunities.

He told us: “I’d always had a passion for animals and the environment so I started to think of ways I could earn a living this way. I started to realise that I could miss out on the difficulties the recession seemed to be causing people, and create my own job.”
At the beginning of 2010, Scott approached The Prince’s Trust with his exciting new business idea and took part in the Enterprise programme. He had an idea of running a mobile zoo that provided educational sessions based on the national curriculum to local schools, with animals such as snakes, lizards, tarantulas and many other exciting beasts.

Scott pitched his business idea and was thrilled when he received £2,000 and a dedicated business mentor from The Trust to help get his business – Exotic Zoo – off the ground. The business took off straight away and, due to high demand, he began to provide sessions for children’s birthday parties too.

Scott says: The business was an instant success. I certainly wouldn’t have been able to do it without my mentor from The Prince’s Trust. Her help and advice was invaluable.

Two years down the line Scott is now in the process of expanding his business by setting up a social enterprise – which in turn may create new jobs for local people.

He has just taken on premises in Telford which will house a brand new zoo and educational centre, consisting of an indoor rainforest and classroom, where he will deliver animal-assisted therapy sessions to adults and children with learning difficulties, as well as lots of learning opportunities for everyone in his community.

The centre will house some of the world’s most exciting animals including crocodiles and piranhas. As a social enterprise and a community interest company Scott’s profits will go straight to local causes as well as world-wide environmental causes that his business supports, but at the same time pay for its self and all its staff.

Scott hopes his business will turn over £40,000 in the next year alone.
Scott says: “If someone had told me three years ago that I’d be running a successful business and doing something every day that I love – I wouldn’t have believed them.

I’ve seen first-hand how the recession has affected people’s job prospects but I’m proof that you really can buck the trend of unemployment. I can’t thank The Prince’s Trust and my mentor enough for all their support.
www.exoticzoo.co.uk


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Paul Jones

Editor of Business Matters, the UKs largest business magazine, and head of Capital Business Media's automotive division working for clients such as Aston Martin and Infiniti.
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https://bmmagazine.co.uk/

Editor of Business Matters, the UKs largest business magazine, and head of Capital Business Media's automotive division working for clients such as Aston Martin and Infiniti.