What is Young Enterprise and should you take part?

Young Enterprise (YE) is a UK-based national charity that specializes in financial and enterprise education. While Young Enterprise runs a wide range of different activities and opportunities, this article will focus on what it’s like to partner up with YE to set up a company.

The scheme was first introduced to me by my college and usually, it is the educational provider of a student that brings about this opportunity. Although I had never heard of what YE was, I quickly became knowledgeable about the basic aspects of the scheme, however, there was also a lot about YE that I was unaware of.  It meant that later on, many things came as a surprise and so it’s important to consider all the possible hurdles and challenges that you may face so that you can make an informed decision.

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the young enterprise company program/pngitem.com

1. Setting up a YE company

Once you have submitted your application to your school/college, they will look through the applications and based on the number of applicants, set up one, two, or more YE companies. Typically a YE company is made up of 10 team members. The team meets for 1 hour and 15 minutes every week at a specified date and time. Typically, the first few meetings are about establishing team roles. Usually, the role of Managing Director is the one that potential candidates will give a short presentation or talk about, whereas the rest of the roles (like HR, finance, sales, etc) can be negotiated between team members. Then it’s up to the team to come up with ideas for products. This can be the challenging part since so many different factors have to be considered. For example, where can the raw materials be sourced from, what will the cost and pricing be, what is the unique selling point, and will the target market even be interested?  The company must also decide what type of company they want to be, do they want to operate as a traditional company would, or do they want to have philanthropic/charitable interests?


2. Associated costs

YE themselves, as for a fee to set up a company. At the time that I took part in the scheme, the total initial cost was around £2000. This cost was covered by the school which they raised through donations from businessmen interested in sponsoring the program. To raise money to buy the raw products, each team member bought shares for £25 each and also sold shares to family members. At the end of the scheme, the money that has been generated from all the teams is shared equally between team members. However, there is also a ‘tax’ that YE cut and my college also charged a sum of money so that they could fund future YE companies. If your company decided to become a company with charitable interests then it’s also expected that a large percentage of profits should be donated to an appropriate charity.


3. Time demands

As a busy student, it’s really important not to underestimate the time pressures associated with being part of a YE company. As I mentioned earlier, there are compulsory meetings, which are held every week. On Top of this, my company also wanted to hold extra 1 hour meetings every week, although this is not something every company does.  And the time required to research, make, market, and then sell the products must not be underestimated. There can also be conflicts and challenges faced within the team. However, this is to be expected when it comes to business and in general when it comes to so many people waiting to contribute their ideas or thoughts.

Whilst it’s not an easy undertaking, there is much experience to be gained and lessons to be learned. It also gives you a chance to try and explore something creative in a team.


Photo: Daniel M Ernst/Shutterstock


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