Young Norwich entrepreneurs encouraging new generation
Two young Norwich entrepreneurs are trying to encourage a new generation of ideas and innovation to follow their impressive example.
Kieran Miles and Alex Pond have enjoyed a successful year establishing their media consultancy firm Ultimate Impact Media, based in offices just off Aylsham Road in Mile Cross.
Managing director Mr Miles is 20 years old and director of innovations Mr Pond is aged just 19. The innovative duo have been building their reputations ever since they were college students and set up regular alcohol-free under-18 nights at Norwich nightclub Media Bar on Rose Lane.
Mr Miles, from Hellesdon, studied for a BTEC National Diploma in Business And Retail Level Three at Norwich City College while Mr Pond, from Horsford, earned his business studies A-level at Hellesdon Sixth Form College. They both worked as many part-time jobs as they could to get the money to establish their business and they are now listed on the elite Courvoisier Future 500 network.
Mr Miles explained: 'Ultimate Impact Media is our umbrella company which essentially puts all of our ideas into practice. It blends our Miles and Pond company, which is mainly marketing and creative solutions, with everything from website design to promoting brand development and consultancy.
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'We started the company last year and it has been crazy ever since. We love new ideas that don't have much substance and helping them to develop. With another of our companies, Enterprise Now, we are looking to take that to a whole new level and aim to make young people more entrepreneurial.
'We work with lots of schools and colleges to encourage young people to have ideas. The main question is usually what is an entrepreneur and people immediately think of people like Alan Sugar, Richard Branson and Peter Jones, from Dragons Den. They have promoted what entrepreneurs do and we are trying to take what shows like The Apprentice and Dragons Den have done on a slightly different scale.
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'What we try to tell people is that you have got to focus on being a small business at the start and making a success of that before you can think about the big plush office and the Mercedes 4x4 and things like that.'
Despite the pair's burgeoning success, they are not planning to represent Norfolk on any of the high profile business-themed television shows in the near future however.
'We won't be going on those sorts of shows, we are certainly not like Stuart Baggs 'The Brand' from this year's Apprentice,' Mr Miles joked. 'We are brand people so that is not really our sort of thing.
'We started out this year with lots of ideas and wanting to try and make something of ourselves and next year we are looking to take things to the next level.
'There are not a lot of people our age who are able to get on and do what they want to do, and I'm not going to lie, it's scary when you start. It is extremely hard work and you have to put in a lot of hours.
'For example, recently we were given a project by a client that was about a week's worth of work on a Thursday, for the following day. But we are not in the business of turning down business so we both pulled a 24 hour shift, got takeaways in for food, worked 8am until 8am and the client got what they wanted.'
Mr Miles' entrepreneurial spirit and ambition has led to him returning to City College to pass on advice to students on his old course and he feels there is plenty more of his type lying in wait amongst Norfolk youth. He added: 'When I finished at school I had initially wanted to be a football coach but when I went to City College there was a change of plan and it was there that I started to learn a lot of things that have helped me to get to where I am now.
'Now we go back there to show students what to consider when starting a business. I think young people should be encouraged to have ideas more and some of the feedback we have had from the students has been amazing.
'Times are hard for students at the moment, with potentially losing their EMA money and having to pay for transport, so it is hugely beneficial for them to try and create some work for themselves.
'We started doing that in September and at the end of this term we have got 24 business plans ready and around June time some of them will be hoping to try and start their own businesses. We are just there to give them a little bit of guidance.'
Neither of the pair may be set to sit in Lord Sugar's BBC boardroom any time soon, but maybe one day they will be on his side of the illustrious desk that competitors on The Apprentice fear so much.