A new project has been launched to support young people in Devon to develop key employability skills and gain an insight into entrepreneurship.

'Young Entrepreneurs' is being funded through Devon County Council’s (DCC) £6million recovery programme in response to the pandemic.

Devon has a high number of SMEs and micro-businesses, so provision of good quality enterprise education is vital in preparing young people for their future employment in the county if they plan to be self-employed or work in small enterprises.

The Young Entrepreneurs project supports the delivery of enterprise education across Devon, particularly in disadvantaged communities. It aims to allow young people to consider alternative routes into employment and will encourage them to pursue their ideas and aspirations to create new businesses and products.

The initiative is being delivered through these projects -

SETSquared and Volt Entrepreneurs Ltd:

The University of Exeter’s SETSquared works with students and graduates to bring forward business ideas and create new products or innovations.

Devon County Council is supporting Volt Entrepreneurs Ltd to work in partnership with SETSquared to deliver an entrepreneurial programme for young people aged 15-24 living and studying in Devon to expand opportunities in the county.

Participants will learn what’s involved in launching a viable and sustainable business, and will include skills development workshops, mentoring, and provision of small grants to turn their idea into a product.

Emily Davies, SETsquared Exeter Student Startup Manager, said: "The SETSquared Student Startup programme at the University of Exeter has been delivering entrepreneurship training in higher education and beyond for many years, while the team at Volt Entrepreneurs works mostly with secondary school age groups."

Dr Sawsan Khuri, co-Founder and Director of Volt Entrepreneurs Ltd, said: "The skills gained by participants will equip them in any pathway to employment they pursue, challenge the limits they place on their own capabilities, and provide them with practical experience to transform their ideas into businesses.”

Space Youth Services:

Devon County Council is providing additional funding for Space Youth Services to expand the delivery of its creative workshops and incubation sessions with hard to reach 14–19 year-olds.

Participants in the workshops learn about the steps required to set up a business. The programme has been designed in partnership with young people.

Richard Doak, Project Lead for Space Youth Services, said: "Space Youth Service's innovative programme has been co-designed with young people, to ensure participants can adapt to their needs, level of skill and interest, keeping them engaged every step of the way.

"Devon County Council's funding will support us in delivering our workshops and incubations sessions to a wider geography and help reach those who have fewer opportunities available to them or may not see creative and digital industries as an option."

Young Enterprise:

Young Enterprise has been successfully delivering employability and enterprise education for nearly 60 years through workshops, challenges, and its Company Programme.

With Devon County Council funding, it’s expanding its operation in Devon with a particular focus on schools with high numbers of students from disadvantaged backgrounds to allow a broader range of young people to develop the skills, competencies, and enterprising mindset gained from participation in its programmes.

Young Enterprise offers shorter challenges and day programmes, as well as the longer company programme which gives participants the opportunity to set up and manage their own business with the support and guidance of local entrepreneurs.

Hannah Cook, Partnership Manager, Young Enterprise, said: "Young Enterprise is excited and proud to be working with Devon County Council to enable more young people to participate in our programmes.

"Meaningful opportunities and the support in which to maximise them are critical to helping young people build their futures. Participants not only gain valuable skills for how to start and manage their own business, but benefit from increased confidence, creativity and an introduction to new possibilities for future employment.”