Students from Raise Your Game make their first steps towards business

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Vaida Zeringyte, 22, has started Busy Ladybird, selling a selection of handmade earrings, felted flower brooches, knitted children’s clothes and hats, crocheted blankets and shawls. Vaida Zeringyte, 22, has started Busy Ladybird, selling a selection of handmade earrings, felted flower brooches, knitted children’s clothes and hats, crocheted blankets and shawls.

Times are tough, and the idea of starting a business in the current financial climate may seem like nothing more than a pipe dream.

But nine students from Raise Your Game’s action learning Start Your Own Business course have done just that, and their efforts are currently on display at The Mill in Walthamstow, in Showcase of Young Start Ups.

Having struggled to find work after university and college, the students, aged from 20, have created a huge range of products to sell – from teas to handicrafts to clothing.

“Raise Your Game is an organisation dedicated to helping and supporting young people,“ explains Nicky Torode, from the lottery-funded social enterprise. “Whether that be due to social or emotional difficulty which may have led to exclusion from school, or young people who have gone through the criminal justice system and are looking to turn their lives around or, in this case, young unemployed people who want to keep up their motivation and self-belief in an increasingly difficult job market.

“We wanted people who seemed really serious about their ideas, and wanted to find out how much they had developed them.

“We then just helped them to take that idea a bit further, and stressed the importance of self-belief.”

Among the entrepreneurs is Stacey Taylor, 22, from Walthamstow, who has designed handmade cards for the LGBT community after finding they were not represented in major gift shops.

Modesar Mehmood, 29, from Leytonstone, meanwhile, creates new twists on herbal and traditional teas with his company Tea Sips. And Vaida Zeringyte, 22, has started Busy Ladybird, selling a selection of handmade earrings, felted flower brooches, knitted children’s clothes and hats, crocheted blankets and shawls.

“The project is all about helping people with bright ideas walk their own path in life,“ stresses Nicky. “Times may be tough, but we want young people to know there is support out there if they need it and, with the right drive, they can succeed in the business world.“ Showcase of Young Start Ups is at The Mill, Coppermill Lane,Walthamstow until April 27. Details: 020 85213211 or www.willyouraiseyourgame.org.uk

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