For more than twenty years I have supported the Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust (PSYBT) by volunteering to sit on funding panels and by mentoring young businesses. Check out www.psybt.org.uk for more information. I am proud to write that of all the funding panels in which I have been involved, only one business has been refused funding. And he came back a couple of months later and was successful at his second attempt.
Much more important to me is my work as an aftercare adviser. Essentially I act as a mentor to a young business for up to two years, offering business advice based on my own fifteen years in business and many more years in management before that. Some of the people I have mentored have become friends and I remain in touch with them many years after we first met and after our aftercare relationship ended.
I am currently looking after three (or two and a half) businesses. Helen runs a catering franchise in Glasgow. She has had a difficult time with a partnership which fell apart and with difficult trading conditions but she remains positive and usually cheerful. As I told her when we met just before Christmas, she is an inspiration to me with her courage and resilience. In fact, I suspect I get more from Helen than she gets from me.
The other two (or one and half) businesses operate as 14c Studio. Darren is a media designer and Douglas a film maker. They are independent but operate under the 14c Studio banner to share work and opportunities. Douglas has produced many short films, some of which may be viewed on YouTube. My personal favourite is A Good Mate (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lYSeYnxXDw). When I started to watch it I was a bit puzzled, then I began to laugh. And I kept laughing. Check out Douglas’s work and 14c Studio. You’ll be glad you did.