Starting Cake Booth with Funding From Richard Branson
When I was 16 Richard Branson gave me money to start my own business. I ran it for 18 months and made over £2,000 while I was studying for my A-Levels. My highlights were catering for the Liverpool Labour Party and the Australian Cricket Team.
When I was 16 years old I would say I was fairly outgoing. I was working as a club promoter while at College which meant that I wasn’t phased by standing up and speaking to strangers. It’s a useful skill for dragging people into clubs for 2 for 1 drink promotions but it has definitely helped me a lot since then.
While I was at college I joined an entrepreneurship club which culminated with attending the Global Entrepreneurship Congress 2012 in Liverpool. I had been developing a business plan and thinking starting my own business selling Cheesecakes at market stalls.
One of things I was struggling with was finding the funding to set up my business so I decided to ask a panel at the GEC how I could get business funding at the age of 16. A few of the panel members responded by saying that I could get funding from my parents of save up from a part time job.
I wasn’t exactly happy with this answer as they we’re holding the event in Liverpool and growing up I didn’t have parents who could just afford to give me a couple of hundred pounds and I would have struggled to save up enough money from a £5 an hour job for a few hours a week on top of college.
I stood back up and told the panel this and that’s when Richard Branson asked me what the business I wanted to start was. I told him that I thought I made pretty good cheesecakes and wanted to sell them at markets. I also said that my signature cheesecake was Raspberry & White Chocolate!
Richard Branson said that he would invest in me and gave me £200 to start my business. I was pretty surprised by this and was caught up in a bit of a media flurry at the time. I also managed to secure funding from the Mayor of Liverpool.
I ran this business for about 18 months until near the end of my A-Levels when I decided that I had to focus on my studies in order to pass them. Not only that I had also realised at this point I would never again go into a business with perishable goods. I think that is one of the reasons why I love digital so much. At least code doesn’t rot.