The recent youth unemployment figures have made rather disheartening reading. Since the general election, the number of young people claiming job seekers allowance has doubled, with 120,000 16-24 year olds in London out of work. The impact of this figure is twofold; morale is low amongst the young unemployed, and the projected cost of the matter is estimated at £28 billion over the next decade.
As stories of young graduates applying for thousands of jobs with no joy multiply, and the downturn continues to plague the economy, the situation feels as though it is continuing on a trajectory from bad to worse.
Keen to kick start a change, my business, KashFlow Accounting Software is teaming up with The Prince’s Trust to tackle the problem head-on, and encourage young people lamenting the lack of jobs to create their own.
The partnership between KashFlow and The Prince’s Trust seeks to combine real-world advice with practical support and significant financial backing for young people looking to start their own businesses. This will work in conjunction with The Prince’s Trust’s Enterprise programme that helps unemployed young people to set up in business.
The Prince’s Trust will give businesses it supports the opportunity to use the KashFlow tool to underpin the financial administration of their company from day one, and KashFlow will offer an extended free period to these businesses and donate 35% of all top line revenues generated beyond that back to The Prince’s Trust. This is an example of how a business originally supported by the Trust is reinvesting in young entrepreneurs, creating a self-sustaining business model and ‘virtuous circle’.
This is not merely an empty corporate gesture to generate income, however, as I began KashFlow with investment from the Prince’s Trust after coming up against similar adversity to that experienced by today’s youth when looking to set up his company. Having ‘grown up with the wrong crowd’, I spent time in prison and subsequently found the job market to be tough ground. Support from the charity for my business venture is now paying dividends, as KashFlow continues to grow year on year.
Small businesses and start-ups are fast becoming the lifeblood of a continually stagnant economy and are an area in desperate need of support and encouragement. The Prince’s Trust gave me the chance to turn my business idea into a success, and now I want to help other young people do the same.
It’s my hope that by leading by example, KashFlow can inspire other businesses to support young entrepreneurs and help mould their ambition and drive into workable business concepts.
This is the first in a chain of efforts from KashFlow that will encourage established entrepreneurs to offer help and advice to their younger counterparts, as the company looks to transform the disillusioned Generation Y into Generation DIY; a cohort of motivated self starters with the support and backing to achieve independent of big businesses who are fundamentally unable to create the jobs they are currently looking for. Big businesses creating new jobs for young workers isn’t the answer in the current climate, we should be encouraging them to create their own businesses. They can get themselves out of unemployment and as they grow, create more jobs themselves.
For me, breathing life into the sluggish economy is a matter of instilling the confidence lost by the downturn into young people and creating a wave of new businesses that will not only carry the economy out of recession, but create a wealth of new employment opportunities for the next generation. Entrepreneurship is integral to getting our economy back on the right track, and we need to give young people the support and the belief that they have the capacity to go out and achieve what they want to achieve. We need to give them the confidence to turn a declining economy into an opportunity for themselves.
The Prince’s Trust is at the forefront of proactive and practical support for young people, and Martina Milburn, Chief Executive of the charity believes that “with the right support, it is possible to help more young people like Duane to set up successful businesses, creating jobs and giving our economy a much-needed boost. We’re delighted that Duane’s business KashFlow is now helping other Trust-supported entrepreneurs to get their businesses off the ground.”
It’s a bold initiative, and one that if successful and widespread, could go a long way to alleviating the downtrodden spirits of young people, as the option to become their own boss is made not only real, but also attainable. As ‘Generation DIY’ mobilizes, the move towards self-sufficiency and well-resourced initiative could spell the end of the crippling economic circumstances.