What I learnt at Next Gen Fest
NCS grad, Kiera recently went to the Next Gen Fest, a one-day festival for young entrepreneurs (16-30) in Camden, London. Filled with talks from inspirational speakers, Kiera wanted to share her learnings with you lot too! Here are her highlights from the jam-packed day.
If you’ve got a business idea that you want to get off the ground, there’s a range of different ways to get financial backing for it. It also depends on what type of idea you have!
For instance, creator of Doodlemoo, Emily Canine, says that for creative projects, the best way to raise awareness and fundraise is with Kickstarter. However, for business ideas that are likely to have a positive impact on society, Crowdfunder is the better option.
Phil Geraghty who started Crowdfunder highlighted how hard entrepreneurial ideas actually are to make happen. “People don’t realise the amount of work that goes behind starting something. Out of 200 start-ups, 100 don’t go live, 50 won’t get funding, and only 50 will be successful.”
The third way to get money is through a bank. Dean Thomson from TSB explained how people never really trust banks – but actually, banks can be really helpful when setting up a business. He does note that a bank can’t help everyone, but in order to stand a better chance, he explains you should have awareness.
“Explore all the options and work out how much you actually need. What are the benefits of having that money?” Once you’ve done that it’s then like a partnership. Dean said you should, “Make sure you keep talking to your bank, they’re there to guide you throughout the process.” He also mentioned how using banks can connect you with local businesses that can help you too.
How Sophie Grace Holmes defies the odds
Sophie is an endurance athlete and personal trainer, and she tailored her discussion around making things happen. She shared her personal story on how she defied the odds. As a baby, she was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis and was told she wouldn’t make it past 16. However, she did. And, despite her condition, manages to live a healthy life – so much so that she’s climbed Mount Blanc!
She spoke about goal setting and one of the most memorable points she made was that “Goals should scare you, as achieving them is down to discipline.” An audience member asked, “How do you stay so disciplined?” and Holmes’ response was “flexibility”.
She gave an example of training every day. Sometimes she doesn’t want to, but by forcing herself to go she sticks to a routine. She just might not do an extensive workout on those days. Sophie admitted that her biggest fear is regret, and that’s why she believes in “taking away the excuse and taking action”.
Sophie also shared three steps from her morning routine:
- Count your gratitudes
- Do one thing a day you don’t want to (you should deal with that task first)
- Make sure every day you have something you enjoy – “For me, it’s my puppy”
And finally, Ben Towers’ top advice
Ben Towers, an award-winning entrepreneur, also shared his story. At 11, he was building websites (to fund his sugar habits!) and that led to him building a huge marketing agency. He shared advice for other young entrepreneurs, which he broke down into five points:
1. Surround yourself with the right people
Find mentors that can help you. Ben did this by scrolling through LinkedIn and finding experts in the fields he wasn’t.
2. Use age to your advantage
As a young person, you have an advantage in your field to those who have been in there a while. Keep yourself up to date in your area, otherwise, you will soon be outdated.
Connect with like-minded people. Creating those links early on will help you later.
4. Grow your business over your personal brand
Focus on your business first. Without this, no personal brand can flourish.
5. Be adventurous
When you’re young, you can be as adventurous as you want, because you have less to lose! Don’t be afraid to take risks.
Thanks for sharing, Kiera! It sounds like a great event that offered you (and us!) all sorts of valuable advice.
And if you guys are looking for more career advice, take a look at our Job Dreams series.