GUEST BLOG: YES founder Carly Ward on funding her startup

What a mental week we have had here at YES! I ran a five-day training course last week for Wiltshire Council, delivering our 12 Steps to Success Programme to a group of young people ranging from 19-25 years old.

The feedback from them was staggering. Two of the young people are going into business with each other! The ideas that bounced off those four walls last week were unbelievable and the motivation they now have to start a business is fantastic!

It's great because it shows the 12 Step Programme is doing its job and the hard work in putting it together is paying off. The whole point of starting YES was to create more young entrepreneurs and that is exactly what it's doing - and what this country needs.

I got a call today from BBC Radio 4's The Today Programme asking me if I could be interviewed for a debate they are having about government spending cuts. I of course accepted! They saw my name shortlisted on The Women of the Future Awards. The business lesson? If any of you have done anything you should be given recognition for, enter for awards. The media pick up on it and then it gets your and your business name out there!

Anyway... I told you in my last blog entry how YES started and today I want to tell you about how I got funding for the business.

The Prince's Trust gave me a small loan for which I had to pitch my idea to "The Panel". It was like a light hearted Dragons' Den without the sweat and tears. The Prince's Trust get over 30,000 applicants per year interested in starting their own business but, unfortunately, they can't accommodate all of them.

Hopefully we will be able to help them out a bit at YES!

I got a call later on in the afternoon saying I had been successful which was great. I then went to The Fredericks Foundation - an organisation dedicated to helping start ups - and they lent me some money too. This meant I could get a website, marketing materials and pay for boring but essential stuff like the accountant!

To get money from anyone you obviously need a decent business plan so my Prince's Trust and Fredericks Foundation mentors helped me out with that. I also got a small loan from my bank.

I was thinking long and hard about how to get funding for my next project, the YES Network. I did not want to be deluged with more loans so I came up with the idea for sponsorship. I hammered the phones, ringing all the banks, and finally got meetings with two senior people from major banks. I explained what I wanted to do - start a networking group aimed at the needs and interests of young entrepreneurs (under 35 only). We will see where that takes me...

I am doing some filming for the Smarta website on Friday so hopefully I can give you the link to that in my next entry when I will tell you what I have been up to and how I have got business from spending nothing on marketing.

In the meantime feel free to check out the Young Entrepreneur Society website and email me any time carly@youngentrepreneursociety.org.uk

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