Jade has business idea in the bag

A young woman who admits to having wasted her first chance to launch her own business is now ready to go again with a product range developed in her garden shed.

Jade Smithson was ready to unveil her range of bags made from sports shirts more than two years ago but missed her big opportunity because she was too busy having fun. Now she is poised to become one of the first young entrepreneurs from the Making Changes for Careers (MC4C) programme to go into business.
Jade, who lives in Hull, said: “I just wasn’t dedicated enough. I’d even say I was lazy, too busy with friends and socialising. I’m working on the same business idea now but because I met up with MC4C I am much more focused.”

Jade joined a bag manufacturer after leaving Hull College and came up with the idea of making designer bags from old sports shirts – notably Hull City, Hull FC and Hull KR. She kept the idea after redundancy struck, working in her garden shed and securing some funding from the John Cracknell Youth Enterprise Bank.
But she lost momentum until bumping into Charles Cracknell, the founder of the bank. Charles told Jade about MC4C, which was set up a year ago to help people aged 16–29 who are not in employment, education or training – NEETs – start their own business.

Jade joined the programme and has mastered the “Big 13” enterprise skills which are at the heart of the MC4C programme – part of the Humber Learning Consortium’s Youth Employment Initiative, which is supported by the European Social Fund (ESF).

Kirsty Barr, Youth Enterprise Advisor at MC4C, said: “The majority of young people who come to us have an idea that they want to develop. We find that a lot of them have accessed business support before but ended up struggling.

“They each have a business advisor who will try to put them in touch with additional mentors. We provide more one-to-one support, with six months’ support even after they have started their business, and often financial literacy is the final puzzle piece. They have to have a good idea of what they are doing when it comes to money.”

Di Garbera, General Manager at Golding Computer Services in Hull and a Business Mentor for MC4C, said Jade emerged as a star student in completing the International Association of Book-keepers (IAB) Level 1 Certificate in Computerised Accounting for Business.

Di said: “All the participants have wonderful ideas about what they want for their business but they have very little idea of finance. We take them through a course which brings a qualification and Sage accounting experience to add to the accreditation they have from the rest of the project.

“Even if they don’t progress to set up their own business it is still a rung on a ladder. The value of these qualifications is demonstrated by the fact that well-established businesses pay for their staff to take them.”

Jade said: “Learning about finance will enable me to do it on my own. I won’t have to pay someone to do that for me. The most important part of it is the one-to-one training. My message to people is not to be afraid. I was at first but what good is that going to do you? If not for MC4C I’d probably still be in the shed and looking for work!”

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