Anyone can do it!
Young entrepreneurs who have changed their lives through business are awarded prizes
On March 2nd at the RBS London Headquarters, a panel of experts awarded prizes to three young entrepreneurs who are on the road to success with the support of the London Youth Support Trust (LYST). LYST support people aged 18-30, particularly those who are economically disadvantaged, to achieve financial independence through entrepreneurship.
Speaking at the event was Raw Talent founder and Apprentice winner Lee McQueen, who talked of a personal and business journey which resonated with many of the young entrepreneurs in the room. The son of a milkman, Lee left school with few qualifications and worked exceptionally hard to make it to where he is today, the owner of the successful recruitment company Raw Talent.
The winners of the LYST Business of the Year Award went to SOS (Secure on Site Security), a private security services contractor set up by Victor Atiemo in 2013 with his brother Michael and 2 friends. They took an office space in LYST’s 639 centre where they had access to subsidized office space and support on LYST’s 3 year program.
They were presented with the Award by LYST Alumni Duane Jackson who went from inmate to entrepreneur and with LYST’s support, was able to sell his business KashFlow for £20 million in 2013. Duane told the crowd that reading Victor’s winning application, he had been reminded of himself as a young entrepreneur with nothing but a thirst for knowledge. Victor says, ‘I began with nothing, everything I have acquired since is through what I have learnt….. through workshops, courses, mentors….discussing my problems with other business owners…..and mostly through a lot of trial and error.’ This highlights the importance of the work that LYST do in providing a space with on site support, a mentor and somewhere in which to engage with other young business owner. This dedication is certainly paying off for Victor Atiemo, his security company now boasts the likes of the Jamie Oliver group as clients and achieved a turnover of £400k last year.
LYST have helped over 1000 young people like Victor make a start in business through their business incubation units based in deprived areas of London. It is their mission to make self-employment accessible to all young people with a good idea and the commitment to turn it into reality – regardless of whether they have the money, family background or social networks to help them.
Lee McQueen says “The work that LYST does is inspiring and I am proud to be involved presenting awards to young entrepreneurs. As an entrepreneur myself, I can appreciate how daunting setting up a business is and how important support can be to make it past the numerous hurdles. I hope the awards can inspire more young people to take a chance and follow their dream.”