Lock down may have diminished and created an uncertainty with future employment opportunities but rural young people are turning to developing and furthering their own enterprising ideas during the pandemic.
The Ideas Cafes, launched by the Rural Youth Project, recently focussed on progressing an idea and how to find finance with youth guest speakers being paired with older business leaders.
The first Ideas Cafe, which detailed how to finance your business idea when you are not eligible, welcomed young entrepreneur Owen Foster and Brenda Roddy and was facilitated by rural communicator, Laura McCulloch from Dumfries and Galloway.
Owen began his entrepreneurial journey age 12.
“I started selling eggs around my local village for a couple of years and then moved onto selling jars of jam around the village for £3 each. We had one flavour to start with and everything has snowballed from there,” said Owen.
Owen found that at such a young age, he was not eligible for grants or funding schemes, and recommends that other young people look to crowdfunding as a possible income stream.
“If anyone wants to give their business idea a try, then they should because in this day of age, you should just go for it. There’s lots of success stories out there, so why not give it a go for yourself.”
Owen explained how crowdfunding is a realistic and possible option for anyone looking to get their business up and running and how it has enabled him to now expand into new territory with his shop, ‘Foster’s Farm Shop.’
“One of the main things to remember, is that you have got to sell your story well and find a way to connect with people, so that in return they will help you. Once we started to really push our story, everything started to snowball from there,” added Owen.
Alongside Owen, Crowdfunder Coach, Brenda Roddy, gave insight into how to use Crowdfunder to fund your enterprise ideas.
“It’s great that young people, like Owen, have taken initiative to crowdfund their projects. You would not believe the diversity of projects we receive every day. Young people are particularly good at running Crowdfunder’s because they haven’t had as many knockbacks and are up for trying anything,” explained Brenda.
On review of the session, 100% of participants stated that the Ideas Café had increased their confidence to finance their own business project idea, that they felt more able to set up a Crowdfunder page and were more optimistic about taking their business to the next step.
The second Ideas Café focused on bringing two young people together to share how their experience at the 2019 Rural Youth Project Ideas Festival inspired them to start up their own business and networking ventures.
Guest speaker, Treasa Ni Cheadagain from Cape Clear Island told her story of how an ideas workshop at the festival, motivated her to set up ‘Cape Clear Farmers Market’, to increase tourism and industry in her rural area.
“During the festival, I told a casual story of how I use the islands fast ferry to bring in Chinese takeaway from the mainland. The power of this small story, led to the idea of developing a food festival or pop up food market on the island, which during Covid-19, we have now created.”
The Café also welcomed guest speaker Luke Taylor, a countryside ranger and founder of the Rambling Ranger podcast.
“The Ideas Festival inspired me to come up with a way of sharing what countryside rangers do in a format that I hadn’t considered before. It also allowed me to talk to so many unique and interesting people, who’s stories I have been capturing on my podcast.”
Rebecca Dawes, Director and co-founder of the Rural Youth Project added, “Our mission at the Rural Youth Project has been driven by the needs and desires of young people, shaping not only our activity but also the way in which we share our content and encourage networking.
“Earlier this year, when the pandemic resulted in a rethink, it was clear from young people that online sessions, such as the Ideas Café, would provide them with the inspiration and confidence to develop their business ideas. This first cafe did exactly that, by bringing a young person and a funder together.”
Hosted monthly via zoom, the next Rural Youth Project Ideas Café, themed ‘Raising Your Rural Voice’ will take place on Wednesday 28th of October at 6:30pm welcoming guest speakers Matthew Naylor, Managing Director of Naylor Flowers, Agrespect founder and columnist, and Grant Murdoch from Smart Village.
Any young person aged 17 – 35 is welcome to attend and can register their interest via the Rural Youth Project website or Facebook page