The end of the month marks the close of entries to a major new £300,000 award to kick start the businesses of young entrepreneurs in the Midlands, launched for the first time this year by one of the region’s largest independent accountancy firms.
Baldwins accountants, which has 10 offices across the region, is investing the cash in the next generation of aspiring business owners aged 18-to-25 over the following decade in the Baldwins Kick Start programme.
The winner of the 2013 award will be given a grant of £10,000 along with £10,000 worth of mentoring and accountancy advice and the two runners-up will be presented with £5,000 of mentoring and accountancy advice. The awards will run annually for 10 years, meaning Baldwins will be handing out a total of £300,000 over the decade to 30 aspiring young entrepreneurs.
Adrian Blount, business development director at Baldwins, explains: “In the firm we had a feeling that some young people who have good business ideas but who are between the ages of 18 and 25 need help and finance to get going but don’t get taken seriously by the banks because they are young.’’
This is despite the fact that young entrepreneurs can be the most dynamic.
“Through our experience talking to young people the one thing that links them all together is a tremendous amount of energy and drive no matter what their academic qualifications,’’ says Blount.
“Their ideas may not necessarily be revolutionary but their energy, drive and determination are the key factors. There just seems to be a lack of fear in some of today’s young people – they are prepared to take a risk.’’
The award is open to any young person between the ages of 18-25 with either an idea and a business plan but are yet to start trading, or a newly founded start-up businesses where trading commenced on or after 1st January 2013. Applicants need submit their business plan before midnight on September 30.
The winner of Baldwins Kick Start 2013 will be announced on Thursday, November 21 at a gala dinner at Villa Park to coincide with Global Entrepreneurship Week with all the profits from the evening being donated to the HelpHarryHelpOthers charity.
David Baldwin, partner at Baldwins, says Baldwins Kick Start was designed for innovative young entrepreneurs who have a good idea and would like to start their own business but need that financial kick start to get up and running.
“As one of the Midlands’ largest independent firms of accountants, we are in a position to encourage 18-to-25-year-olds to take a step forward in their careers,” he says. “We want to support their enthusiasm and drive to back their idea and make a success of their business.
“This is not restricted to any particular sector and everyone who enters will need to put together a business plan.
“We will then invite 10 people to attend an interview before the final three will give a presentation at the awards night when we will announce the winner.
“As well as awarding a £10,000 grant to the winner, our team of experts at Baldwins will provide thousands of pounds’ worth of advice, accountancy and mentoring fees to the winner and runners-up to help with getting their business off the ground because it is often in the first or second years when young companies can struggle.
“We are really excited to be launching this award and to be encouraging young entrepreneurs in the Midlands who just need a financial helping hand to get started to turn their idea into reality.”
Baldwins says Kick Start has attracted considerable interest.
“The feedback we have got out there in the market is that the universities, colleges and youth organisations are extremely positive about what we are doing,’’ says Blount.
An online form to enter Baldwins Kick Start along with the terms and conditions and the closing date to submit applications and business plans can be found at www.baldwinsaccountants.co.uk
Harry the helper's inspirational tale
His mother, Georgie, who is founder and chairman of HelpHarryHelpOthers, is among those continuing her 11-year-old son’s inspiring work and HelpHarryHelpOthers will benefit from a continuing partnership with Baldwins accountants – starting by receiving the profits from its gala dinner to announce the inaugural winner of Baldwins Kick Start 2013 at Villa Park on November 21.
She says the ethos of the Baldwins Kick Start programme fitted in perfectly with the ambitions of HelpHarryHelpOthers – to provide encouragement and support to young people.
“One of the great factors about the Kick Start competition is that it is about inspiring young people to be entrepreneurs,” she says. “Harry was a little entrepreneur – he wasn’t doing his fundraising for himself, it was for selfless reasons. He inspired others to follow their dreams.’’