Young entrepreneurs’ ambitions supported by Darlington Building Society and Young Enterprise

Young entrepreneurs’ ambitions supported by Darlington Building Society and Young Enterprise

Published: 15 November 2022

Today Darlington Building Society has announced a partnership with Young Enterprise, to help build entrepreneurial skills in young people across the North East.

The Society donated £16,000 to sponsor four schools in its operating area to take part in Young Enterprise’s Project Inspiring Futures (Project IF). Colleagues from across the Society have also volunteered time with the schools to act as business mentors and share their knowledge and experience.

Project IF was established to provide young people in underserved communities around the UK with opportunities to develop their entrepreneurial skills and prepare them for the world of work through a combination of classroom, enterprise and digital programmes One of these interventions is Company Programme, where a team from each school is tasked with creating, developing and setting up a business which they present to a panel of judges. There are regional and national ‘Dragons Den’-style heats, with one business ultimately crowned the winner.

The four schools supported by Darlington Building Society are St Aidan’s Catholic Academy in Sunderland, Abbey Hill Academy in Stockton, North Durham Academy in Stanley, Parkside Academy in Willington.

Louise Thorpe, Distribution Director at Darlington Building Society said: “Darlington Building Society has a long-standing commitment to the local communities it serves. As part of our community strategy we pride ourselves on sharing our profits, space, time and knowledge through financial education with those who need it most, which is why working with Young Enterprise to deliver Project IF is a perfect fit for us.

“Being able to support and nurture the next generation of entrepreneurs in our region is a fantastic thing for us to be able to do. There are some real success stories from previous years of Young Enterprise programmes, including one participant opening her own bricks and mortar store in York off the back of her winning proposal. It would be fantastic to see any one of our supported schools go the distance and achieve something similar, and I am really looking forward to seeing how each business develops.”

Sharon Davies, CEO at Young Enterprise, said: “We are hugely grateful to Darlington Building Society for their support in providing young people from underserved communities in the North East with opportunities to develop key employability skills and enterprising mindsets that will set them up for their future. At Young Enterprise, we know that young people learn better when faced with real, relevant and meaningful scenarios – that’s why we believe it’s crucial they have the opportunity to benefit from the programmes delivered through Project IF. I am really excited to see the impact of Project IF on these groups of young people and their local communities.”