10,000 young people to be ‘Ignited’ by Inspire 2 Ignite

The bright, contemporary offices of Stobbs IP in Cambridge played host last week to the much-anticipated Inspire 2 Ignite CIC launch event. With an exclusive invite-only guest list of 120 decision-makers from across the East of England and beyond, this event marked the culmination of 18 months of grass-roots work.

Inspire 2 Ignite CIC’s first cohort of Igniters was activated last year following involvement in the Region of Learning Project. This first cohort formed the pilot scheme which proved the vital and life-changing business model. In the pilot, the expert team, including Ignition Coach, Sam Squire (22) engaged with 16-24 year olds from the area (the Curious Entrepreneurs).

Sally Field on a panel with Kelly Cartwright and Katy Davies

In an economy where industry struggle to engage with young people, the Inspire2Ignite team engaged with young people who are NEET (Not in Education, Employment of Training) through social media, events, digital badging and through gaining trust within this hard to reach demographic. The team supported individuals to set up their own businesses (the Igniters) offering access to networks, investment, support and everything they need to turn ideas into side hustles, then building them into businesses.

When I became a father at 14 I was written off by school, and society as a whole. In my 20 years as an owner of multiple businesses, I have seen the positive impact of encouraging an entrepreneurial spirit in our young people. Giving them a seat at the table not only improves their chances to achieve their full potential, but also benefits our communities. We have so much to learn from our young people and I am proud to launch our Community Interest Company, Inspire 2 Ignite CIC.

At the launch event, Alex chaired interactive sessions with young Igniters, Curious Entrepreneurs, their parents, the Inspire 2 Ignite team, project supporters and industry experts. Attendees heard first hand the power of the project, and how the pilot has already made an impact on the way entrepreneurship is talked about both in education and industry.

Talking in front of an audience for the first time, Igniter Lewis explained how he used £350 funding from the Next Step event to start his plant hire business. He, and others expressed how the Inspire 2 Ignite team had helped them overcome challenges to achieve beyond their expectations, one Igniter Rico even earning £20,000 in one month through his business.

Sam Cuma one of the Curious Entrepreneurs

I help aspiring young people broaden their self-awareness, build their self-belief and channel their curiosity. The launch event was everything I envisioned and more. 120 passionate people came together for one purpose – how can we best serve and activate young people. We listened, asked Curious Questions and shared a special space together. The energy was electric, the connections were meaningful, the systemic change is coming. Now, it’s time to inspire 10,000 young people in 2023, are you coming on this journey?.

In 2023, Inspire 2 Ignite CIC will be inspiring 10,000 16-24 year olds through entrepreneurial experiences. Of these, they will ignite 100 individuals who wish to pursue life as an entrepreneur. There will be ample opportunity for local industry and educators collaborate with Inspire 2 Ignite CIC to continue to engage the curious 9,900 and help them reach their full potential.

Alex continues, “If you have young people in your organisation, invite them into your strategic meetings and challenge them to contribute. Watch the magic unfold!”