Entrepreneur and author Sadie Sharp is a regional finalist in the Great British Entrepreneur Awards 2020 in the Entrepreneurial Spirit Award category.
These regional and awards support, connect and encourage entrepreneurial minds in the UK and have become well known in the business calendar. The regional, virtual, awards ceremony will be held on Wednesday, September 23 and if Sadie wins, she will go forward for the national title.
Sadie is the founder of The Platform Project community interest company, which runs from an office in the Dorcan area of Swindon.
The project helps young people develop entrepreneurial skills through a number of real-life youth-led businesses and projects – and often these young people will not have thrived within mainstream education, so learning how to work for themselves really broadens their life options as well as developing differentiated employability skills.
Sadie said: “I was surprised to have been shortlisted for one of these prestigious awards, and to be one of just four finalists in the region is astonishing.
"For me, helping young people achieve is a passion and purpose I feel I was born for, so I see it as just something that I do. To receive this recognition is amazing and reminds me just how special what we are creating really is.
“Young people have so much to give and many never reach their full potential because they maybe haven’t found a way to fit into the education and employment options put in front of them.
"I truly believe ‘not fitting the mould’ presents potential, not a problem, and it’s my job to find a pathway that fits who they are, what they are interested in, and what they could actually achieve if they can craft their own pathway.
"The aim of the Platform Project is to show success comes in so many forms and they have choices over how they want their life to look.”
Lucas Gleed is one of the young people from Swindon who has been supported by the project. He said: “I started out as a participant in the project’s youth magazine, and after three months I was offered an apprenticeship in digital marketing.
"Now I’m coming to the end of my apprenticeship and Sadie has also helped me set up my own social media marketing business where I advise small businesses as a freelancer. I’ve seen firsthand what the project can do for young people like me.
“Without the project, I wouldn’t have learnt the skills to earn self-employed income or be the confident person I am today.
"The academic part of school was difficult for me. I struggled with it and felt disadvantaged by that. The Platform Project has opened up an exciting opportunity where I’ve learnt so many new skills and gained valuable youth enterprise and self-employment experience that many young people my age haven’t had the opportunity to do.”
The Platform Project, created by Sadie four years ago, is a not-for-profit youth scheme that supports the development of young people’s confidence and employability skills through a range of youth-led businesses and enterprise activities.
It has quadrupled in size each year since starting, and now also assists schools and local authorities to target groups of young people learn enterprise skills.
The project supports around 60 young people each year to either to get into work or start up their own business or side hustle, and is about to expand into two new towns.