How to start and run a business as a young entrepreneur

Last month, Bridge 2 Business hosted four live Q&A’s on the Ayrshire College Facebook Page where the audience had the chance to ask young entrepreneurs for tips on setting up a business.

bridge2business melissa

Bridge 2 Business is an interactive programme from Young Enterprise Scotland designed to ‘Inspire, Support and Connect’ students to think about business start-ups, learn and develop employability and enterprising skills. We want to encourage students to act on their ideas and develop skills along the way. One of their key activities is to connect college students with young local entrepreneurs, so that students can learn first-hand what it is like to set up a business and ask their questions to people walking the entrepreneurial walk. As a launch event, they organised a series of live Q&A hosted on the Ayrshire College Facebook Page, where their Ayrshire Region Programme Executive Melissa interviewed four young entrepreneurs.

The first guest was Melanie Blane, who founded White Rabbit Skincare, a luxury vegan skin care brand. She started mixing her own products together and after friends and family showed interest for her products, Melanie decided to turn her hobby into a business.

Her main tip on being an entrepreneur and making it happen is to say yes to opportunities even though they stretch you outside of your comfort zone.

Melanie says that if she hadn’t put herself out there, she would still be alone in her kitchen mixing her products for herself whereas now her products are stocked in 16 different locations!

Second guest was Nick Cohen, Founder of We are Pcr, an IT support network that helps companies with their IT. Nick started his first company when he was 13 and he gave some incredible insights on how he runs his company.

He says that setting up values and goals is very important and a key element of being successful as you and your team know what you are working towards and this helps prioritising! After being asked in the comments section if he would do anything differently, Nick explains that decisions that they made that have gone wrong always taught them a lesson, so he wouldn’t want to change anything.

On the third day of the Facebook Live mini Marathon, Melissa went to Spectre Creative’s office to interview Craig McFarlane. Craig found his passion for graphic design after trying different subjects at university and college. Now running a valued based design agency with two other people, he learned a lot about teamwork and compromise. Resonating with what Nick said as well on Tuesday, setting values and goals for the company is an important thing to eliminate arguments and making sure everyone is working towards the same goal. Another key skill Craig has developed through running his own business is effective communication with his clients. He mentioned how he has learned how to use positive and persuasive language to lead the conversation to the direction he wants. One example he uses is instead of writing “If there is any problem…”, write “Let me know your thoughts on this.”

Lastly, 21-year-old Claire Halligan talked about how she set up her jewellery business whilst being at college and how she benefitted from the support available from Bridge 2 Business. Claire’s favourite thing about her business is to hear her customers’ personal stories. One great customer service advice she gives is to follow up with people who have bought your product or services and through this build a relationship with them. She also urges people to go ahead with their ideas and that they will figure it out along the way!

Missed the livestreams? Catch up with the links below:

Click here for Melanie Blane, White Rabbit Skincare

Click here for Nick CohenWe are pcr

Click here for Craig McFarlaneSpectre Creative

Click here for Claire HalliganPop Up Jewellery Ltd



Bridge 2 Business promotes enterprise and aims to give students the opportunity to develop enterprise skills and to encourage them to  act on their ideas or start their own business by giving them the necessary tools. If you have an idea for a business or want to take on a project, but have no clue how to get started, this is where we can help. We all have to start somewhere and seeking the right support and connections is the first step! 

If you want to know more about the programme visit the website or contact Melissa directly

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