Posted: Fri 27th Sep 2019
Joe Taylor and Elliott Rayne are the co-founders of EJ Events. We first met the Enterprise Nation members when they attended a workshop as part of the Next Generation campaign for young entrepreneurs. They went on to enter the Next Generation Awards and won the category for 19 - 22 year olds. Joe shares the business' inspiring story.
Free start-up workshops for young entrepreneurs take place in Birmingham, Manchester, London, Cardiff, Bristol and Dundee this autumn. Find out more here.
Explain how you secured the funding for your business:
We started the business with £100 and we have organically grown the business. in April we won £2,500 in the Next Generation Awards and this changed the game for us. Since then we have quadrupled the amount. That gave us a platform and we are about to work with an exciting marketing agency to help us scale the business and create a potentially game changing platform for event companies in the UK.
How did you come up with your business idea?
Me and my co-founder Elliott brainstormed for many weeks. We thought about a range of businesses from shoe cleaning, to a clothing business and even developing an app. We decided events would be a lower risk and less up front capital business.
What start-up challenges have you faced?
The main challenge is getting brand awareness and trying to get the word out. We have organically grown the business and after nine months are slowly getting into a position where we can invest in growing the business through marketing.
At first, showing credibility was hard, allowing venues to trust us with their space and to let us throw events was tough, but once we did our first 10 events, people trusted us and saw that we are professional and reputable
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
Being crowned the Next Generation winner across the whole of the UK has certainly been our biggest achievement. The credibility and business we got off the back of this was game changing.
What is your next big business goal?
We recently got accepted to be part of the Natwest Accelerator which means we will be working with some of the north's brighest entrepreneurs and business directors at Natwest.
We are aiming to scale our business as take on paid marketing efforts and we hope to be the premium event planners for corporate companies across the UK.
What do you think will be your biggest challenge?
There are a lot of event planners out there, but the reason we have met so many incredible people and won these accelerators is because people buy us and the passion that we show.
Our age could actually be a hindrance as to whether people may take us seriously and as with any new business, getting into the market and building up a client base will be difficult.
How has Enterprise Nation helped your business?
Enterprise Nation has been incredible for EJ Events. When we launched the business, we attended a Next Generation start-up workshop in Manchester. The trainer Henry Blanchard truly inspired as what he taught was extremely relevant bearing in mind we started the business a week before!
The events and initivatives Enterprise Nation run are fantastic and it truly is a special network to be part of! There's the brilliant StartUp show which we attended in January and the Next Generation Awards is a must! For young entrepreneurs, I can't recommend Enterprise Nation highly enough.
Head of media Liz Slee helped us with our PR and EJ Events has very close ties with the team at Enterprise Nation. We feel like they have been with us from the start!
Which other entrepreneurs inspire you and why?
Steven Bartlett from Social Chain. His content is fantastic and it resonates with us incredibily. He is on a mission to support and help young entrepreneurs like us.
In terms of the classic business heavyweights the Dragons are incredible pioneers for UK entrepreneurship. Peter Jones is truly a fantastic businessman.
What are your three tips for business success?
1. Use your age to your advantage. Start now! We started when we had just turned 19. It is the best thing we have done. Any aspiring entrepreneurs who have an idea but don't have the confidence to start, please don't keep it in your head; get it out into the world!
2. Working smart. There are some say that entrepreneurship is 24/7 grind and hustle. We are strong believers that if you leverage your time properly and build a team around you, you can enjoy other aspects of your life. Now we employ people through peopleperhour, Fiverr and local talent. There is a welath of information through YouTube, Enterprise Nation and the internet that you can leverage your time better.
3. Find your 'why', write it down and remember it in the tougher days. Every mentor and successful person says you should start with your why. For some it could be to be time free, to have a private jet, have millions or inspire people globally. Find your why.
We have both written down our whys and every day we ask ourselves 'will this get us to our why?'. If not, we don't spend more than 10 minutes dwelling. As soon as you find your why, this will serve as fuel on the bad days and the days you feel like quitting.