At a recent meeting of the Ayrshire branch of the Federation of Small Businesses Jackie Galbraith, Vice Principal for Strategy, Performance and Planning at Ayrshire College met some of Stewarton Academy’s Young Enterprise team. Here’s what they had to say.
Why did you set up the company?
We set up the company as part of Young Enterprise to gain valuable experience in the world of business, and to learn a bit about what it takes to run a small enterprise. The experience has allowed us to get an insight into all aspects of business such as sales, creativity, finance and management in real life situations. It has been really enjoyable so far.
What are you aiming to do with it?
First and foremost, like all businesses, we are looking to make a profit. We aim to produce and sell quality products in the local area and beyond. We are aiming to complete the young enterprise project as the most successful team in Ayrshire. Hopefully we will convey to an audience our great triumphs and successes, as well as our solutions to the many problems that have occurred over the past year.
Who is involved in the team and in what roles?
We currently have 10 team members – two specialising in Finance, two Managing Directors, two Sales people, one HR, one Operations Director, one Corporate Secretary and one Computing Expert. Between us, we have all the essential aspects of business covered.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
We have had to overcome numerous challenges. Firstly, our first batch of portable chargers didn’t arrive until long after we needed them, and we had to order an emergency stop gap from a UK supplier. We now always use UK suppliers to avoid long delivery times and high costs. We also lost our design and marketing director at a crucial time, but thankfully our corporate secretary created an excellent design which we now use on our bags for life.
Tell me a little bit about yourselves – what you’re studying and what you plan to do on leaving school?
Jonathan (Chief Executive Officer) – The world of business and finance fascinates me, so I applied for university courses in that field. I have received an unconditional for my first choice course (Business Enterprise and Finance at Strathclyde) which I look forward to studying. Ideally I want to be a trader (stocks and shares) for a big bank, but I can definitely see myself running a business at some point in the future.
Niall (Chief Operating Officer) – I hope to study international business. From a young age I have had a keen interest in business and this project has concreted my desire to become a successful business person. It has also helped to prove that not everyone will agree with your approach to business and that you have to adapt in order to suit the best interests of the company.
Arran (Chief Finance Officer) – I plan on studying mechanical engineering at university after sixth year. I aim one day to work for a successful engineering company in Scotland, with the possibility of running or helping manage a company.
What advice you would give to others interested in setting up a company?
Running a business as part of young enterprise will be extremely beneficial to you, as it provides real world experience and looks great when applying for jobs. In hindsight, I would have loved to have been told that compromise is an essential role in setting up a company. It’s not too complex, mostly common sense, but it would surprise you how many mistakes we made when setting up. I am quite certain other start-ups have faced similar problems. Plan your business carefully and start as soon as you can as timing is crucial.
Business Enterprise in East Ayrshire
East Ayrshire Council’s Business Enterprise Fund sparked the launch of Business Enterprise and Skills Centres in all of the area’s nine secondary schools. Each school has selected initiatives and programmes to suit the requirements and talents of students to help make them ready for a bright future in the world of work.
Programmes are backed by accredited qualifications at a range of levels up to Higher. These make young people more desirable to employers and develop their personal awareness and skills like communication, teamworking and leadership. Local business leaders play a great part by acting as role models, offering their experience and support in mentoring students and backing this ambitious education initiative.
Find out more about East Ayrshire Business Enterprise
RAISING ASPIRATIONS | INSPIRING ACHIEVEMENT | INCREASING OPPORTUNITIES