Blog| Moguls in the making: Scout entrepreneurs
It’s Global Entrepreneurship Week and we’re focussing on Scouts with brilliant business brains, who’ve used their Scouting background and determination to develop their enterprises.
Did you know Richard Branson was a Scout? One of the UK’s most famous entrepreneurs said: 'Scouting was definitely the best part of my time at school. It got me away from the desk. It got me outside, doing useful, practical, fun things. And it taught me a hell of a lot more than school ever taught me.'
He’s not the only the ex-Scout entrepreneur. Our Scout Entrepreneur Challenge was developed in conjunction with Richard Harpin, CEO of insurance company Homeserve and a former member of the 1st Stocksfield in Northumberland. Rising business star Lewis Bowen, 25, inventor of Fuel4, a safe and environmentally-friendly fuel, is also a former Beaver and Cub.
Jess, 17, Misbourne Sea Scout Explorers and Young Leader at 1st Chesham Beavers
'I made cakes to raise money for the Jamboree in Sweden in 2011. Being a Scout helped me learn how to manage money and fundraise. Now I run my own cake-making business, Iced and Sliced. My business is mostly through Facebook and word of mouth – I’ve had a lot of support from people in Scouting. I love being creative and putting my stamp on cakes. My favourite was decorated as a campsite – it was birthday cake for my mum’s friend who’s a Cub Leader. It was great fun to make that. I study professional cookery at college and hope to open a cake shop in the future. If you’ve got a skill that you’re good at, you might as well make the most of it.'
Dawn Carter, Scout Leader, 1st Bishop’s Stortford
'I loaned 39 young people in my Group £1 each and asked them to turn it into more money. Over eight weeks they made an amazing £1,300 for Grove Cottage, the local Mencap centre. I wanted to give them a bit of a challenge and bring out their creativity. I didn’t tell them how to raise money but gave them a few ideas. Some of them bought baking ingredients and made cakes for their parents' colleagues. Others clubbed together to buy cleaning products and washed cars. It was really interesting to watch them develop their ideas. The challenge gave them loads of confidence. Even if they had all came back with £10 it would have been brilliant, but they all just kept going!'
Megan, 17, Young Leader at 1st Tolworth Scout Group
'Running my business CordWorxUK allows me to develop skills that’ll be useful in the future. I also have an unpredictable health condition, which can get in the way of work: so having a business gives me some control back. My main product is the CordWorx UK Survival Bracelet, which untied gives approximately 7ft of paracord to aid a survival situation. I have also created a range of dog collars as many join owners on their adventures. They are made to custom size to ensure comfortable fit and have a quick release buckle so that the dog can escape without injury if necessary. I care about the environment so all my packaging is made from recycled paper/plastic, invoices are sent via email to avoid unnecessary printing and items are delivered to the Post Office on foot so that no carbon emissions are created.'
Alex Mulchinock, 23, Active Support member with the 17th Tonbridge Scout and Guide Band
'When I was in a Scout band I got the chance to design the band’s website. For a 15-year-old, that was a huge opportunity and the seeds of my web design career a couple of years later. I now run my own company, Cirrus IT Solutions, which supplies businesses with IT products. Anything where Scouts have the opportunity to run an event or activity – whether or not money changes hands – gives them a taste of business. I’d advise any Scout faced with organising a camp, designing a website or running an activity to just 'go for it.' If they can do it in Scouting, they can do it in business.'
Benjamin, 11, Cub
'At Kernow Scout Jamboree, I learned how to make pictures with hama beads. I really enjoyed it. Since then I’ve made and sold pictures at the school gates. Quite a few Scout leaders have bought the pictures – the most popular design is a skull and crossbones! I’m working hard to keep up with the demand. Last Christmas my dad challenged me to raise half the money for an Xbox for Christmas. I cleared snow from our neighbours’ driveways, charged £5 a time and raised enough for my Xbox! I love the challenge and also enjoy making things. I’ve learned loads of things in Scouts. I’d like to be an inventor in the future!'
Are you a Scout entrepreneur or is the next Richard Branson a member of your Group? Let us know at email@example.com.
Have you tried any entrepreneurial activities with your Group? Find out about the Entrepreneur Challenge for Scouts.