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We help young people aged 18 and 30 to start and grow successful businesses. 

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Aminat Akande
Kande Collection 

Tell us a bit about yourself and your business

My name is Aminat, and I am 23 years old, I’m from London and I’m the founder and director of Kande Collection. Kande Collection is a contemporary African inspired brand, we sell unisex pieces for both men and women.

How has Launch It helped with your business? 

We have been taught how to market our products effectively, and I think that having that general support from Next Generation and Launch It has helped me a lot with my brand in particular.

I’d say that the experience I’ve had so far has been amazing, I don’t know where Launch It and Next Generation was when I started up my business but there’s been so much that I’ve gained just even in a couple of weeks.

Did you always like fashion when growing up?

Growing up I developed an interest in fashion and then I realised- Ok I’m quite good at this! So, I gained the thought of turning it into a business, and now I’m very proud of it! 

To find out more please visit www.kandecollection.com

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Aisha Jade
Carisips 

Tell us a bit about yourself and your business

Tell us a bit about yourself and your business

I am Aisha Jade and I’m the managing director of Carisips. Carisips is a non alcoholic drinks brand. My products can be served hot, cold or as a mixer, and I have 3 flavours: ginger zing, sorrel spice and zesty tamarind, and what I discovered when I was a blogger with these flavours is that they are staples- they represent health, community and they’re used for celebration, so they are very important with culture.

How has Launch It helped your business?

I think that programmes like Launch It and Next Generation are very important to young entrepreneurs and those who don’t come from money. When have a weekly meet up every Tuesday when we get together and learn about different topics. I think there is a class barrier when it comes to starting up a business and I think on the programme they have been very empathetic to different people’s needs and I think that’s very important.

To find out more about Aisha and her brand visit www.carisips.com 

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Mary Otumahana

_ The Record Shop

_ Prodigies of Nature

_ WonRWomN

mary

Tell us a bit about yourself

I’ve been making music from home – writing, rapping and producing – since I was 14. I got my first job when I was 17 with a record label, but I was also doing a lot of general part-time retail work.  I studied film studies at university and afterwards I did a bit of filming for a youth charity. Through that I got some training and got more into youth work – I worked part-time as a teaching assistant and also at a youth club where I was supporting young people to organise music events, advising them on music and media. 

What motivated you to start a business?

As a teenager, I found that there weren’t enough opportunities for young people to take part in music activities. In my early  20s,  I got involved with organisations like Roundhouse (performing arts and concert venue in London) that provided free workshops. It gave me a chance to learn and meet other musicians. It got me thinking about starting my own music business. .  

Tell us how you got involved with Launch It

I’d been running a free recording studio for once a week with an organisation called somewhereto… that offered access to free community space for 16-25 year olds. They eventually stopped running that space and Launch It took it over. I started to think about how I could turn my recording studio into a proper full-time business. 

I got so much help from Launch It to develop my business plan, do a cash flow.  They were instrumental. Subsidised rent meant I could afford to rent space for my studio, which just wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.  Launch It helped me promote my business, linked me up with a mentor – and just being in a Launch It centre meant I had access to lots of training and networking opportunities. . 

Your business has expanded since then! 

Yes! I started Prodigies of Nature (for profit sister company to The Record Shop) in July 2017 so that I could generate funds to be able to continue running The Record Shop as a free studio. 

What are the biggest challenges facing young entrepreneurs? 

Finding the balance between earning a living and pursuing a career that you are really passionate about! It‘s a struggle at the start; but things do get better. It’s so hard to know how to prepare for running a business before you’ve started! You have to be forward thinking, plan ahead, be detailed in thinking about what you want to achieve and the steps you’re going to take.

What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs like yourself?

Firstly, it’s good to be driven by your passion and enthusiasm, rather than immediately thinking about earning money. Passion motivates you to keep going and move forward with what you’re doing. At first you have to invest a lot  - your time, money - and it’s difficult, but it will pay off in the long-term! Creating a business plan and having a cash flow really helps with funding applications – and it helps you to understand the ins and out of your business, to know where you’re going. 

www.therecshop.co.uk 

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Tell us a bit about yourself

My name is Ellise Gordon and I’m the owner of See Me Stationery in London. So, my business is a notebook brand, that aims to represent people from marginalized backgrounds.

How has Launch It helped your business?

In terms of Launch It and how it helped me, essentially having a contact with peers and a pitch coach which has been really good as we have a good rapport, and she’s gone through my business and looked at how can I improve and it's been really nice because it’s not just a very formal conversation, it’s definitely like a relationship, in terms of you can speak very casually about it which has been really good.

When and why did you start your business?

I’ve been running my business for almost a year and a half. I decided to do it because I felt that people need representation, particularly in retail. I always loved to write in notebooks and stuff but wanted to find one that’s got really beautiful art on the cover, and also there was always ones for little girls but not for girls that look like me. I think it allows people to express themselves, so I thought it was the best way to allow myself to represent people rather than to represent themselves in that notebook. It's been a really amazing experience and I’ve really enjoyed it.

www.seemestationery.com/


Ellise Gordon
See Me Stationery 

Ellise

Cameron Langston
Bark and Shout

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Tell us a bit about yourself

My name is Cameron and I am the director of Bark and Shout. We create performance gear for all dog owners.

How did your business begin?

When I moved down to London I moved down with my girlfriend and we had to leave her staffy behind and so at the end of 2020 we got ourselves a staffy called Ember. We started to make a few different products for Ember and we tried them out and put them online, and people seemed to like them and so it allowed me the opportunity to use my creative drive in the field of pet accessories and that’s something I wouldn’t of been able to achieve without Launch It.

How has Launch It helped your business?

Launch It and the Next Generation programme has really helped to provide a network of people in a similar position to me. The business advisors that we are paired with provide feedback, experience and knowledge, sharing stories about the trials and errors of being an entrepreneur, which is invaluable to helping me realise my path of entrepreneurship.

www.barkandshout.com 

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