Posted: Wed 13th Jul 2022
The Next Generation programme aims to give thousands of young people in London aged 18 to 24 the support they need to start a new business or grow an existing one.
Created in partnership with Launch It, the programme provides free training, events, content, access to advisers, peer groups, funding and much more. It's designed to help young people who might not have easy access to the finance and opportunities they need to go into business for themselves.
Here, we meet three business owners whose budding ventures are going from strength to strength thanks to the support of the Next Generation programme, including e-learning, business coaching, bootcamp training and pitching practice.
The business owners also took part in the pop-up store on London's Oxford Street in June.
How have you benefited from the Next Generation programme so far?
Aisha: I had a mentor, Jay, who's been extremely supportive of me and my journey. He's encouraging and also honest, which I believe is important as business isn't always sunshine and roses. He has lots of business experience and has given me practical advice.
I got the opportunity to work with a pitch coach within my industry. What I learned in those sessions will allow me to effectively communicate Carisips' brand proposition moving forward.
Lastly, I've always wanted to do a pop-up, as they're a great way to interact with customers. But renting a space in a London is very expensive and not practical for me. So I was very excited to take part in the pop-up shop with other fabulous business owners in somewhere as renowned at Oxford Street!
Yuru: It's been great to meet like-minded young entrepreneurs who share my ambition of changing the world for the better by resolving a market issue. Next Generation has given me a lot of useful knowledge on how to start a business.
With the help of this programme, my team and I were able to develop a business we started in our university dorms into a thriving company. It's been incredibly rewarding and inspiring. We've been mentored by business leaders while acting as mentors for our student interns and home cooks, empowering people across the community to start businesses themselves.
Roshan: Next Generation has given me the confidence to truly build my business. The consistent sessions and check-ins have kept me accountable and encouraged me to grow at every opportunity. It's been one of the best and most rewarding experiences for me.
What were you hoping to achieve by taking part in the programme?
Aisha: I wanted to make valuable connections and gain a better understanding of business, especially my industry, brand awareness and funding.
Yuru: We were hoping to launch the business by the end of the programme and also test out the idea in a pop-up store.
Roshan: I heard about Next Generation by chance when I was scrolling through Instagram. My first thought was that it looked like an amazing opportunity. I'd competed in an enterprise competition at university, but there I wasn't pitching my own business idea.
So I wanted to take part in this programme and pitch my ideas this time. My aim was to progress to the final round of the pitches and win the £10,000 grant for my business to truly flourish.
How did you come up with your business idea and what are your plans for the future?
Aisha: When I left college, I didn't know what I wanted to do career-wise and I started blogging. I travelled to cities like New York, Toronto and Paris to explore food and realised how many of us eat and drink the same things but call them different names. People from all walks of life connect through these flavours. I love the unity of it all and this is how Carisips was born.
The future is very promising! I'm currently working on reducing the amount of sugar used in the products and I'm seeking further investment to really begin the journey of scaling the brand to its full potential. Carisips has the potential to be global and it will get there.
I'm also starting a new sustainability programme to get a better understanding of what it truly means to be a sustainable brand. I want to be B-Corp certified by the end of 2024.
Yuru: The idea initially was formed in May 2021. The purpose of the business is to help refugees, immigrants, stay-at-home parents, retirees and anyone who loves cooking to generate a meaningful income and share their native cuisine, culture and stories with the wider community, while giving customers an opportunity to buy the home-cooked meals from hidden gems in their local areas.
I founded a team to develop the platform and handle the marketing. With no founder capital, we've used grant money to scale. Despite our limited budget, we've been able to establish ourselves and have won awards for digital and innovation.
We're planning to test out the business idea in summer 2022 and then gradually expand our services nationwide.
Roshan: I created a tea business as tea has always been a large part of my cultural identity. I'm British, Pakistani and Chinese – a cup of tea was something that unified all these parts of me. I wanted to merge these parts of my culture and also teach other people about the many uses of the herbal ingredients we include in our blends.
The ingredients are commonly used in the east but not so well-known in the west. I wanted to pioneer this change and encourage people to learn about aspects of different cultures.
How is your business unique?
Aisha: The commercial beverage industry lacks flavour innovation. This is mainly because there's a lack of diversity among the founders of the brands in this space.
Carisips is all about my culture so my brand positioning and understanding of these flavours and how significant they are is completely different to someone who's creating a brand solely for a financial opportunity, who isn't from the culture or doesn't particularly care about the culture from which their products originate.
Yuru: Hey! Food is Ready is an online marketplace which connects approved home cooks from different cultural backgrounds living in the UK with hungry neighbours looking for authentic, wholesome homemade food.
Despite the increase of industrial cooking, we hope to maintain the authenticity of homemade dishes, and keep human connection at the heart of ordering food. Takeaway delivery service provides fast yet mostly processed meals. On the other end, services that offer like Hello Fresh, where the food is freshly made, can be time-consuming. We bridge this gap, providing authentic, quick food for customers.
We believe our platform can generate a positive social impact, spreading community spirit and diversifying the region, bringing timeless recipes to full-time households.
Roshan: Tea Temple is the lifestyle tea brand. We revolutionise the ancient art of tea, creating tasty tea blends that use natural herbal ingredients to combat common ailments such as stress, indigestion and anxiety.
It's unique as most other tea businesses do not solely focus on the wellness aspects. We do. We also incorporate ingredients that haven't been used before, or been blended in the way we've blended them.
Need help starting or growing a business?
The Next Generation hub can help you with the education, inspiration and funding you need to achieve your business goals. Sign up to the hub today