The young face of entrepreneurship that could upturn local economy

BUDDING young entrepreneurs are heading to change the face of the local economy with their innovation and talent to run their own businesses.


The Young Entrepreneurs Academy, a new project being piloted on Wirral, has within weeks of the launch already begun setting many on the road to creating their own livelihoods in a variety of different business sectors.

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy is the brainchild of Merseyside entrepreneur Sandra Kirkham whose vision for a robust economy puts the focus on unity in local communities, with business leaders using their expertise to set young talent – youngsters disadvantaged by unemployment - on the road to business start-up.

Jonathan Quinn, managing director at Wirral-headquartered innovations specialist Quinnovations, has dedicated his time alongside Sandra to ensuring that the young entrepreneurs are fully supported as the region continues to count the cost of the coronavirus pandemic, with thousands of jobs already lost and yet more predicted to come.

Sandra and Jonathan also recognise the impact of food and diet on learning. With the help of a grant from Wirral Borough Council and partnership with Birkenhead-based Neo Community, all project participants will now receive meals and take home food at the end of their day.

Support from JobCentre Work Coaches, The Hive Onside Youth Zone, Community Action Wirral and Wirral Chamber of Commerce has been invaluable in generating additional interest and support for young entrepreneurs across the Wirral community.

Jonathan said: “The ingenuity and drive of these young people wanting to get ahead in spite of all the odds has totally amazed us.

“I was pretty much like them when I started my business journey – I had the ideas but hadn’t a clue about business ethics or putting something like a business plan together.

“I would have benefited from support from people who have already trodden the path to entrepreneurship. This is where we can now succeed with our disadvantaged young people to help make them self-sufficient so that, once they become established, can begin to employ others and start to turn the wheels of the local economy.”

After the first set of meetings between the young entrepreneurs and the panel, Sandra said: “The ambitions of these young people absolutely shone through with their energy and enthusiasm to create their own businesses and seek help to make their dreams a reality.”

Among the young business hopefuls are two young women planning a women-only home painting and decorating and garden art company; two young men who want to develop their online business to encompass work experience training for schools; a 17-year-old bespoke jewellery manufacturer and a young man with an aim to provide training and outdoor experiences to reduce youth crime.

There’s also a young man who wants to set up an overnight mobile phone repair service; a 17-year-old with a fashion brand sales company who wants to develop the business; a special-effects make-up artist with designs on developing a company for film and photography projects; a 19-year-old chef aiming to set up a café and run workplace food deliveries and two people keen to run a pet care and pet training service.

Due to the demand for places with the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, the project is now set to continue to indefinitely and plans are in place to roll out the initiative on a national level.

All young people need to qualify is to be aged between 16 and 24, have a passion to succeed with a business idea, believe in their ideas, be open to feedback, be prepared to learn about business and to work tirelessly on their ideas.

In return, they will receive practical help, advice and guidance in essential areas to grow their businesses but, most significantly, they will be matched with experienced entrepreneurs who may ultimately look to invest in their businesses in the future.The Young Entrepreneurs Academy already has a significant register of experienced business leaders and entrepreneurs who are ready to engage with the young entrepreneurs but Jonathan and Sandra are also looking for more experienced business men and women willing to give their time to supporting these new ventures.

Their role, as experienced entrepreneurs, will be to professionally connect with the aspiring business owners, act as mentors and share their knowledge and business journeys with them.

Sandra added: “Wirral has a strong network of professionals operating across many different fields whose knowledge and experience is going to be vital in giving these young people the confidence to start out on their own.

“I am sure many will recall their own very early start-up days and will be able to relate to the ups, downs, passions and problems of the road leading to success. Most importantly, they will recognise the significance of valuing young people and respecting their passion, enthusiasm and engagement to positively contribute to our local economy.”

Interested applicants should send a short video of themselves and their business ideas by email to

Experienced entrepreneurs are also requested to register their interest in the project by email to


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