Aspiring entrepreneurs need the right role models and support

Not enough young people see entrepreneurship as a viable career option, but those that do need the right role models and support, says James Eder, co-founder of The Beans Group, who is one of 12 ambassadors recruited by James Caan and Lord Young to support the Start Up Loans initiative.

We have sought the views of entrepreneurial experts on the best role models for young, aspiring entrepreneurs:

James Eder, Founder, The Beans Group
It’s important that young people see what other young people have achieved and understand that setting up a successful business is something that they actually can do. We need public figures like James Caan and Lord Young to bring entrepreneurship to the forefront. As an ambassador, I feel that I am there to support them and hopefully show students a real life example of someone who is working day to day to build a brand and grow a team around them. I am delighted to be able to share my story and inspire others to take the same leap I did when I set up when I was 22.”

James Caan, Chairman, Start Up Loans
“The Start Up Loans Ambassadors demonstrate that age and funding are not barriers to starting your business. They all started their businesses between the age of 18-24 on £2,500 or less. They have come from fashion to food, digital to the arts – whatever your passion, if you want to be an entrepreneur, there’s a business for you. And through Start Up Loans, we provide the tools you need to kick-start your business including finance, mentoring, office space, technology but also role models and a community to help you through the journey.”

Raspinder Singh, Founder, The Gradpreneur Club
Typically when young people think about business, celebrated names such as Mark Zuckerberg and Richard Reed come to mind. It’s great to take inspiration from these famous names, but it’s unlikely that these guys will be able to support your journey into business. Instead, connect with local entrepreneurs and business minds whose experience will equal, if not exceed those of celebrity entrepreneurs. Through the Gradpreneur Club Events we encourage exactly this, by connecting budding entrepreneurs with experienced entrepreneurs who are humble enough to support their journey from vision to venture. Starting up can be a lonely journey, so from day 1 of your venture be resourceful, start networking, attend events and reach out to as many business minds as you can”.

Jonathan Lea, Senior Associate, Bargate Murray
“As someone who has now been in the corporate game and following the City career ladder for the last ten years, but who also has a strong interest in technology and social media, I understand that as a digital riptide continues to disrupt traditional business models at an ever greater rate it is becoming more and more important for everyone to develop an entrepreneurial mind set, not least today’s students.

Despite the changes happening in society and the fact that with developments in technology it’s never been easier to start a successful business, the current education system does not develop entrepreneurial skills and thinking. This is why organisations like Gradpreneur are so important. Even as someone who graduated some time ago and who attends many events and meets lots of entrepreneurs, listening to talented entrepreneurs talk so frankly about their experiences and being able to ask questions and interact with them cannot fail to motivate students and graduates to want to begin their own startup journey”.

John Haworth, CEO, HIreducated
“Schemes such as these offer opportunities to talk to people who young entrepreneurs can relate to offering experience on issues not normally covered, like the necessity of failure, not typically admitted to by CEO’s. Speakers such as James Eder are juxtaposing the often image conscious society of entrepreneurship with real honest advice. Tangible role models, like these, are of ever increasing importance as individuals are subject to an ever increasing gap from inspirational leaders.”

Nitzan Yudan, Co-founder, Flat-Club
“It’s clear that the experience of high profile names is super valuable to raise the profile of entrepreneurship and could help any entrepreneur, but as a student I was most inspired to see others like me that graduated just a few years ago and decided to take the risk and go for it. It doesn’t matter if we succeed or not, it’s important to see that we are giving it a try. Not everyone can be Bill Gates, but also not everyone wants to be. It’s the small businesses that drive the economy up, and it’s the younger-entrepreneurs that drive the spirit and motivation up.”