(PRESS RELEASE – January 9, 2009) – Against the backdrop of a blitz of business closures, an independent enterprise scheme today announces up to £70,000 of investment in aspiring young entrepreneurs.
The timely boost comes from one of the longest running youth enterprise schemes in the UK, Shell LiveWIRE, which has been giving free support to would-be entrepreneurs since 1982. The programme will this year introduce a monthly cash award for 16-30 year olds with great business ideas. Every month, up to five aspiring entrepreneurs will be given a no-strings-attached financial boost of £1,000 to help them get their business ideas off the ground in the Shell LiveWIRE Grand Ideas Awards.
In addition, young entrepreneurs will be invited to compete for the coveted annual Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year award which recognises and celebrates the achievements of the UK’s finest young entrepreneurs. The award will see one winner walk away with £10,000.
Shell LiveWIRE, which has 84,000 members in the UK alone, hosts a business networking community at www.shell-livewire.org which enables the best business brains from every corner of the nation to share ideas, insights and inspiration with fellow entrepreneurs who understand the challenges they are facing. The new-and-improved website goes live on Tuesday 13th January.
The community also has an international reach with a further 8,000 members from over 20 countries worldwide, connecting entrepreneurs with their peers from Doncaster to Dubai. People considering introducing an international dimension to their business, such as exporting, sourcing or establishing a global customer base, can take advantage of this free, virtual meeting space to engage with a directory of potential contacts who can offer advice and share insights into how their markets work.
The independent enterprise scheme also offers a unique package of free resources to help business start-ups in 2009, at no cost to the user, such as:
· A Start a Business toolkit including a guide to understanding your own strengths and weaknesses
· A global network where users can share ideas and opinions with their peers
· A discussion forum where members can put questions to experts in every field
· Essential guides to market research and business plans and legal information
Shell LiveWIRE has helped more than 600,000 young people since it began in 1982, amongst them successful entrepreneurs including Jamie Murray-Wells from Glasses Direct, Imran Hakim the creator of the iteddy, Lucy Cohen from Mazuma Money and James Watt from Brewdog.
James Smith, Shell UK Chairman, said: “Shell Livewire’s new web tools are a hugely effective way of giving small business start-ups a big boost. Over the 26 years Shell LiveWIRE has been running, we have seen the tremendous amount of entrepreneurial talent there is in the UK. Given the current economic climate, it is more important than ever to unearth and support the young entrepreneurs of today. They can be creators of jobs, prosperity and the innovations of tomorrow. To help and encourage young entrepreneurs, Shell Livewire has been modernised with web tools, telephone help and financial prizes.”
Jamie Murray Wells, the 2005 winner of the Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, founded Glasses Direct from his parents’ living room in 2004 using the last installment of his student loan. The business, which sells cut-price prescription glasses over the internet, now has a multi-million pound turnover and sells a pair of glasses every three minutes all over the world.
Jamie said: “It’s a tough economic climate, but that shouldn’t put off entrepreneurs with sound business ideas being brave and going out on their own. Many successful companies like Apple and Microsoft actually started in economic downturns. But creating a successful business doesn’t happen overnight and you need all of the help you can get. So take advantage of advice and financial support from schemes like Shell LiveWIRE and you will find attracting the support of high profile backers, funding your idea, researching your market, developing a business plan, and ultimately marketing and distributing your product a whole lot easier.”
To find out more, join the LiveWIRE community or enter the Shell LiveWIRE Grand Ideas Awards or Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards, visit www.shell-livewire.org.
About Shell LiveWIRE:
Shell LiveWIRE provides advice, guidance and support to young entrepreneurs. The programme is open to all, but aimed in particular at 16-30 year olds who are starting their own business. More than 100,000 young people benefit each year. They can access free tools and information as well as join an international network of entrepreneurs, who understand the challenges they are facing and can provide support. Shell Livewire started in the UK in 1982, but has since been extended further to over 20 countries worldwide.