Young entrepreneurs get a leg-up at free business centre that aims to help develop the next big thing

Hayden Taylor, managing director of Unloc'Picture: Sarah Standing (180706-4904)
Hayden Taylor, managing director of Unloc'Picture: Sarah Standing (180706-4904)

A CALL has been sent out to find the next young rising stars of business in Portsmouth.

Enterprise group ‘Unloc’ is looking for a new round of applicants to benefit from their business support facility. The Young Innovators Hub based at Portsmouth College provides young entrepreneurs with free facilities and support to launch their businesses.

Young entrepreneur Byron Homer

Young entrepreneur Byron Homer

Managing director Hayden Taylor said: ‘The hub provides a space for eight entrepreneurs aged 16 to 25 to start their own business, community project or charity. They have access to hi-spec Lenovo computers, photoshop, internet, phones, scanners, photocopiers and printers. It is all available for free, they don’t have to pay for anything.’

In addition, the hub also provides conference and meeting facilities to liaise with potential clients and sponsors. 

Mr Taylor believes this affords young people with an opportunity they may otherwise be unable to access.

‘It is really difficult for a young person to obtain their own premises as it is just so expensive. The Young Innovators Hub helps young people in the growth and development stage of their enterprise which will hopefully then enable them to develop even further and get their own premises,’ explained Mr Taylor.

Young Innovators Hub entrepreneur Keiran O'Toole is now moving to his own premises

Young Innovators Hub entrepreneur Keiran O'Toole is now moving to his own premises

Whilst Unloc is the primary provider of the service they have also received support from Portsmouth College which has provided the space along with sponsorship from the city’s university.  

In addition to the equipment and space the project also looks to provide guidance and support.

‘We also provide mentoring opportunities in which we help to give directed support from people in the business world who are involved in a similar field to the enterprises being developed,’ added Mr Taylor.

The hub has been active for six months and currently has five young entrepreneurs running a range of enterprises including football coaching, research into malaria, make up products and fashion design.

The Young Innovators Hub

The Young Innovators Hub

SUCCESS STORIES

Byron Homer, aged 17, is currently studying at Portsmouth College and has made use of the hub to establish his clothing brand ‘Ron Apparel’.

‘To be honest I don’t think I would be at this stage if it wasn’t for Unloc. I think I would still be simply talking about an idea rather than actually making it happen. They have provided professional equipment which I don’t own at home. They have all the necessary software for editing photographs and videos and with everything in one place it is really convenient,’ explained Byron.

In addition to the provision of practical facilities, Byron believes the guidance and support he has received has been vital to starting up his business.

‘The mentoring that I was given was by far the most helpful part of the project. My mentor advised me on the key components of starting a business including identifying my target audience and unique selling point,’ said Byron.

Keiran O’Toole, aged 18, used the facility to set up his own fashion brand ‘Rock Clothing’.

‘The amount of resources and facilities I have been able to use has been really beneficial. I can use the space to really focus on my business and I also have advice and support on hand,’ explained Keiran.

Keiran highlights a major benefit of the project is simply having a work space in which to meet clients and conduct business.

‘When I was working from home I would always have to go to coffee shops to meet clients. Having a permanent known premises makes conducting meetings so much easier as well as looking far more professional,’ he added.

Since moving his enterprise to the innovation hub Keiran has seen his sales rise and he is now in the process of purchasing his own business premises.

INTERESTED ?

Unloc are currently looking for a new round of applicants to make use of the remaining places.

‘Once people have a space then as long as they are active they can use the facility for as long as they need it,’ explained Mr Taylor.

Young people with an enterprise idea can apply for a position at the Young Innovators Hub via the link at

www.younginnovators.hub.co.uk