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Boris backs budding entrepreneurs

15 November 2011

Young Londoners will experience first hand what it takes to run a business and get tips from some of the capital's successful entrepreneurs, as part of Inspires Me Week, a new scheme developed by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson in partnership with Workspace Group.

More than 50 students aged 14 - 16 from the three Mayoral academies - Aylward and Nightingale in Enfield, and Bexleyheath –  will spend a week working in a variety of sectors, including TV production, fashion shows, the restaurant trade, skincare, mobile applications, business consulting and environmentally friendly baby retail.

The budding entrepreneurs will go behind the scenes, shadowing business leaders and company bosses. They will get hands on experience, gaining insight into the skills required to run a business in a highly competitive environment, as well as observing the qualities and attributes required to become an entrepreneur. 

A key challenge will see the students creating and presenting their own business plans. Their work will be judged at City Hall on Friday 18 November by a panel including businesswoman and Apprentice star Saira Khan, Harry Platt, CEO of Workspace Group, and Araceli Camargo-Kilpatrick from THECUBE, an enterprise and innovation agency.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: 'Young people are key to our city's future prosperity and their ideas, creativity, initiative and enterprise are invaluable assets, which we want to help nurture. Even in times of economic uncertainty, entrepreneurship is a route to success, but it also brings a personal sense of achievement. We want the youngsters taking part in this exciting week to be challenged, but also inspired to go on to become the entrepreneurs and future leaders that our city needs.'

Harry Platt, Chief Excutive Workspace Group said: "Workspace Group is delighted to be partnering with the GLA on the delivery of 'Inspiresme Week'. We have over 4,000 entrepreneurs working in our business centres and it is brilliant that so many of them are willing to take the time to show the Mayor's students what it takes to run a small company. This initiative is part of E3, our overall community investment strategy. By engaging with our customers, local communities, and people in education, Workspace enables employment, education and entrepreneurship, all of which contribute to a healthier London economy

Inspires Me Week is part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, the national celebration of the innovators and job creators, and is organised by the Mayor in partnership with Workspace, which provides office, studio and workshop space to SME businesses around the capital. There will be three Inspires Me Week awards for best business plans - Best Student (selected by businesses), Best Business (selected by students) and Best Group Business Plan (from competition task set at the start of the week).

ENDS / #inspiresmeweek


Notes to editors


  1. The Mayor’s Academies Programme will establish up to 10 academies across London, delivering a ‘Three Part Offer’ to raise skills so that young people are better prepared for the labour market; provide access to a job or training offer for all young people who choose not to go onto further or higher education; promote community learning hubs through joining up efforts to improve school performance with efforts to improve adult skills. This offer will be underpinned by a rich academic offer. Entrepreneurship is a key part of the skills for employability agenda and it ensures that young people get exposure to a wide range of opportunities which could shape their future. There are 3 academies opened under the programme, located in the boroughs of Enfield and Bexley.In November 2010, the Mayor launched a campaign to boost the number of apprenticeships in the capital. The campaign has seen 40,000 new schemes being set up in a year. The Mayor has now set a new target in association with the National Apprenticeship Service to create an additional 60,000 new apprenticeships by the end of 2012 – bringing the total to 100,000. The Mayor is keen to build on the success of work done with business sectors that play to London's strengths, namely financial services, digital, creative, cultural, retail and hospitality, where apprenticeships are still underrepresented compared to the size of their workforces. For more on the Mayor's plans go to:
  2. Workspace Group PLC is a specialised property-based business providing office, studio, workshop, and light industrial workspace for SMEs and entrepreneurs throughout London. Workspace Group PLC assists new and existing small businesses by creating affordable accommodation for rent on flexible and user-friendly terms. Workspace Group PLC owns and manages over 100 business centres in London and has more than 4,000 small business customers. Further information can be found at                                                  E3 is Workspace Group’s community investment strategy. By engaging with its customers, local communities, and people in education, Workspace enables employment, education and entrepreneurship, all of which contribute to a healthier London. Indeed, by rooting our community investment strategy within education and the career development of tomorrow’s entrepreneurs, E3 underpins Workspace Group’s position as the home to the entrepreneur.
  3. Global Entrepreneurship Week is the world’s largest celebration of the innovators and job creators who launch start-ups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare.
  4. During one week each November, GEW inspires people everywhere through local, national and global activities designed to help them explore their potential as self-starters and innovators. These activities, from large-scale competitions and events to intimate networking gatherings, connect participants to potential collaborators, mentors and even investors—introducing them to new possibilities and exciting opportunities. The initiative kicked off in 2008, launched by former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Carl Schramm, the president and CEO of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Since then, it has grown to 115 countries—with nearly 24,000 partner organizations planning more than 37,000 activities that directly engage more than 7 million people. Many new jobs in entrepreneurial economies come from firms less than five years old. Leaders around the world are looking to reinvigorate their economies by focusing on ways to stimulate new firm formation. Global Entrepreneurship Week helps map the entrepreneurial activity in those countries and has the participation and support of presidents and prime ministers including: Prime Minister David Cameron; President Barack Obama (US); Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Israel); President Anibal Cavaco Silva (Portugal); Prime Minister Stephen Harper (Canada); President John Atta Mills (Ghana); and, numerous ministers focused on advancing economic growth.