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Youth startup support club launches to support RCT youngsters

A fully funded after-work programme designed to support more young people into starting businesses is set to launch in Rhondda Cynon Taf.

A 2020* UK survey found that 64% of the workforce wished to start a business, and of those, 83% were aged between 18 and 24. However, despite this apparent entrepreneurial drive, data from Companies House** suggests that of all new businesses started since July 2020, only 7.8% were started by 16-24 year olds.

Held jointly online and at Coleg y Cymoedd in Nantgarw, the after-hours workshops are open to anyone aged between 16 and 25 and based in Rhondda Cynon Taf who has an idea or who wants to start a business.

The 5 to 9 Club™ aims to support individuals with an idea and help them turn it into a fully-fledged business by equipping them with the skills and knowledge they will need to launch and grow. The workshops are held once a week from 5pm to 9pm, to allow those who work or study time to gain the experience and support needed to grow their business idea without taking the risk of giving up full-time employment.

The workshops start from the 30th June, before a pitch night to be held in August. During the pitch night, participants will present their ideas to their fellow founders, talking through their business plan and their next steps.

Training Facilitator at Welsh ICE, Tom Phillips said he hopes the programme will help break down some of the barriers younger people face: “Growing up in the valleys, starting a business was something that I always wanted to do. But unfortunately, with the lack of support and guidance that was available at the time, that dream faded. There is definitely a mysticism that surrounds starting a business. It’s so tough to do and knowing where to begin can be incredibly difficult – let alone actually making it a success.

“That’s why when I joined Welsh ICE’s 5 to 9 team I was determined to set up a youth cohort, and now, thanks to our partnership with RCT Council and YEPS, we can help give young people the direction, guidance and support they need.

“But, it all has to start somewhere, and that’s why I would encourage anyone who has an idea, no matter how big or small, to get in touch with us and see if we can help them realise their dream.”

The youth 5 to 9 club is being held in partnership with Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Youth Engagement Participation Service (YEPS). Through working with organisations like Welsh ICE, YEPS aims to provide enriching opportunities and support services for young people across RCT.

Bedwyr Harries, Youth Services Manager at the Youth Engagement and Participation service said they were very pleased to be able to offer this exciting opportunity, “This is a great opportunity for young people to learn the required skills needed to establish and run a successful business”

The 5 to 9 clubs are a key part of the Welsh Innovation Centre for Enterprise’s (ICE) outreach programme, as it looks to connect with potential business founders across south east Wales.

The nine-week course features a series of workshops where attendees can develop their idea, supported by entrepreneurs who have been through the start-up process and now manage businesses of their own.

Each week is hosted by a different expert who guides participants through different aspects of starting a business, from developing their business plan right through to launching and even seeking investment.