Did you know that half of young people in the UK aged 16 to 24 want to start their own business? Well, Westminster Councillors certainly do and when they decided to launch Westminster’s first Enterprise Week , to coincide with Global Entrepreneurship Week 11-22 November 2015, the focus was firmly on young people and access to enterprise.
With this in mind, we hosted an Enterprise Fair at Westminster Reference Library, one of many events held across the council and in BIP libraries for Enterprise Week, showcasing the range of business support and assistance for enterprise and self-employment, creative courses, programmes, apprenticeships, funding and more, offered by organisations from a cross section of industries including fashion, music, dance, food, graphic novels and more.
We were delighted to have with us as stall holders on the day the London College of Beauty Therapy, Industry in the Streets, Fashion Retail Academy, NatWest Enterprise, Westminster Enterprise Centre, Portobello Business Centre, Paddington Development Trust, Maida Hill Place, Business Launchpad, Orbital Comics, Rain Crew, Young Enterprise and Producer/Presenter N. N. D. who featured sound bites from participants for her programme on The Workplace on ResonanceFM.
Julie Bundy & Simon Aslaaf from Maida Hill Place
The day’s highlights also featured guest speakers who shared business journeys and industry insights. We heard from Julie Bundy & Simon Assaf from Maida Hill Place , a social enterprise offering tailored support for food industry start-ups, who spoke about food enterprise and the Pop-Up economy, and why food remains their passion – for Julie, it’s the power of food to bring people together under even the most challenging circumstances; for Simon, it was the food industry’s capacity to stay afloat despite the advent of the internet, where, as he reminded us, you still can’t fry an egg!
Clint Sinclair and Sharifa M Momad breakdance
We were also delighted to have Westminster’s very own Clint Sinclair, in his guise as managing director of Rain Crew London Dance, a non-profit company working to bring people together through dance, delivering classes, events, performances and community based projects. From Clint and guests we learned about the world of the break dancers or b-boys, and the dance ‘battles’ or competitions that take them all over the world. With fellow dancer Sharifa M Momad, Clint gave a brilliant live breakdance performance and then introduced guest Spin (aka Juan David Gaviria), a successful B-Boy dancer who spoke eloquently about how looking to his future, he successfully combined his dancing with enterprise by training to become a barber.
This was followed by Chris Thomson, Event manager at Orbital Comics who chaired a fascinating discussion with Owen Michael Johnson, twice British Comic Award-nominated writer & artist and creator of Beast Wagon, a black comedy comic book series set in a zoo, and Jason Atomic, artist and all round cross cultural creative & performer.
All talked about how drawing as youngsters shaped their future careers and the economic & creative challenges of working in the comics/graphic novel industry. The panel discussion was recorded and is scheduled to be featured on Orbital as a podcast early next year.
Last but by no means least, we had 3D Printer demonstrations taking place throughout the day. This was thanks to the much appreciated efforts of Triborough Colleagues Melanie Lower and Charmaigne Powell, who stepped in and succeeded, despite being complete novices, in getting the printer to work beautifully as promised, engaging and entertaining visitors, who also had fun with the 3D goggles.
The 3D Printer – guest star!
We enjoyed the day and especially the opportunity to promote Westminster Libraries Business Information Point services and our special collections in fashion, art & design and performing arts here at Westminster Reference Library. We would like to thank everyone who took part and supported the Enterprise Fair. Feedback from participants has been very positive, all stating how much they enjoyed taking part, making new contacts, and expressing interest in working with us again. We have come away with the knowledge that there are plenty of potential partner organisations out there eager to find out what we have to offer and work together to cross-promote services, which can only be good news for our services and customers alike.