Nothing in this world is ever easy. To achieve your goals and be successful you need drive, determination, support and a little bit of luck. Becoming self-employed is no exception. When I first had the idea of Sublime Science, which recently featured on BBC 2's Dragon's Den, I was extremely excited but also daunted by the task that I'd set myself. As is the case with so many other entrepreneurs I've met on my journey so far, once the idea got into my head - it was impossible to let it go.
The idea for Sublime Science came about when I was working with children in Australia, over seven years ago. I was engaging them in science in a fun, creative and educational way and in a light bulb moment, I realised that science parties didn't exist in the UK. I became determined to right this wrong and to make science more accessible and enjoyable to children. The only problem was I didn't know where to start.
That's when I found The Prince's Trust Enterprise programme, which helps young people looking for self-employment to explore, test and implement their business ideas. With guidance, advice and investment, my idea began to become a reality. I had the vision and I was raring to go, but I didn't really know about all the different elements of becoming your own boss. The journey began with a four day workshop where I learnt about the different aspects of setting up in business such as planning, marketing, sales, raising capital, budgeting and tax. The Trust then partnered me with a mentor who guided me to refine my business plan and give me the structure to move things forward. After the first party, word began to spread and the business took off. Over the last six years, the business has expanded and currently, we do around 80 events across the UK each week. Over the last couple of years, I've tried to focus on developing the business further and that's led to the production of two books, a DVD, a number of business awards and now investment from two of the BBC's Dragons - who really aren't as scary as the show makes out! It's been a rollercoaster ride but one that I am really enjoying.
So many young entrepreneurs I've met through The Prince's Trust say that starting their own business was the best decision they ever made. While it's tough and you find yourself working all hours of the day and night, it's such a rewarding feeling to have built something yourself, and to be your own boss. However, too many young people, particularly those The Trust work with, lack the confidence to take that first step. This could be due to any number of issues, including a difficult background, financial issues or long-term unemployment but without self-belief, young people will struggle to succeed at all. This is where The Trust excels. By pairing young people with a dedicated mentor, who will support them in all aspects of business through a three year programme, as well as providing funding, a would-be entrepreneur can overcome seemingly insurmountable odds to become an established, successful business owner.
The other key ingredient required to set up on your own is passion. Whether its food, fashion or photography, a key starting point for many young people is their enthusiasm for what they do and The Trust, alongside other organisations, can help to turn that passion into a sustainable business. My ultimate aim is to make science fun for a million children and thanks to The Trust, I am edging closer and closer to that goal.
One of the things I am most proud about with Sublime Science is providing opportunity and jobs for other young people. Not only do young entrepreneurs follow their dreams and provide an income for themselves, they also provide jobs for others, and create products and services that fulfil a local need. Giving back helps break the longer-term cycle of unemployment whilst ensuring the entire community benefits.
New research from The Prince's Trust and NatWest reveals that Health and Beauty has been the most popular sector they've supported business start-ups in for the past four years. Other growing sectors are Media and Communications and food-related enterprises. While it's great to see an increase in entrepreneurs in these areas, I believe that young people can establish companies in any field they choose. With the right frame of mind, anything is possible. If you're thinking about becoming your own boss just remember, you don't have to do it alone.
This September, The Prince's Trust is encouraging unemployed young people to take the first step to starting their own business. Funded by RBS & NatWest, who together represent the largest single corporate supporter of the charity's Enterprise programme, those aged 18-30 can share #MyBigIdea and sign up at princes-trust.org.uk/idea