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Young Solent entrepreneurs get £21,000 head start in business

23 March 2015

An app for creatives, video creation and a unique clothing brand… just some of the money spinning ideas that have resulted in young entrepreneurs in the Solent area being awarded a share of £21,000.

Five young people, aged 18 to 24, have been awarded funding through the Solent LEP’s (Local Enterprise Partnership) Young Entrepreneur Fund.

The latest recipients of the funding were unveiled today at Southampton Solent University as Solent LEP announced the reopening of the fund. Now another £35,000 is up for grabs for the most promising of the region’s budding business brains. 

Among those already getting a head start in business thanks to the cash injection from Solent LEP is 22 year old Bryony Gordon from Southampton, who plans to set up a mobile app to connect people working in the creative industries. 

Bryony said:

"My app works in a similar way to something like LinkedIn, but is specific to people in the creative industries. It will be really useful for students, freelancers and agencies, and the funding I’ll receive will help me with marketing. Ultimately, my plan is to firmly establish the app in the UK and then introduce it to Europe." 

Also benefitting from Solent LEP funding is Luke Parker, an 18 year old from Fareham. Luke’s business, ALL7 Productions, offers a videography service. 

Luke said:

"Most of my work is currently based around corporate videos, where I produce videos of events, meetings and product videos. The funding is the backbone to my business and without it I wouldn’t have been able to buy professional camera and editing equipment, as it’s just so expensive. It was really easy to apply for the funding, and meant I could just get on with starting my business." 

Mauro Farmhouse, from Portsmouth, was another recipient of the fund and has set up Chasing Mula, a clothing company that aims to represent street life. 

Mauro said:

"The idea for my business comes from my love for fashion, and the Young Entrepreneur Fund seemed like the perfect opportunity to get it started. The funding is helping me progress my business with promotion and marketing, and to build the brand quickly. It helps that I’m really passionate about my business, otherwise it would just feel like a job."

Chris Allington, Solent LEP Board member, met with the ambitious youngsters today. He said:

"The young entrepreneurs get support and mentoring from many organisations across the region through the fund, which helps to kick-start their businesses. Entrepreneurship and SMEs are the future of our economy and that starts with young people, which is why the funding is so important."

Professor Graham Baldwin, Vice-Chancellor at Southampton Solent University, said:

"Southampton Solent University is very active in encouraging and developing student entrepreneurs, which makes us the right fit to deliver training to recipients of the Young Entrepreneur Fund. 

My advice to any young person looking to start their own business is to be confident and give it a go. These young people have incredible skills, talents and ideas and if they work hard and are confident in themselves I’m sure success will come."

The Young Entrepreneur fund was launched in November 2013 by Solent LEP and partners The News, The Daily Echo, Portsmouth City Council, Southampton City Council, the Solent Further Education Colleges and Universities, Prince’s Trust and NatWest. 

Anyone in the Solent area aged 16 to 24 with a strong business idea is urged to apply for the next round of funding, which is open for applications now. Under Round 3, another £35,000 is up for grabs.

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