Grant Thornton helps Cambridge Regional College students build business success
Young entrepreneurs at Cambridge Regional College are benefiting from real-life expertise to help get their business ideas off the ground, thanks to a partnership between the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy and local financial and business advisors Grant Thornton.
Eleven members of Grant Thornton’s Cambridge team will be working closely with students on the one year PJEA BTEC Diploma in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship course, as they learn how to start up and market their own business.
Each student will be assigned a Grant Thornton ‘mentor’ who will provide them with personalised advice throughout the year, covering anything from business planning, cash flow and forecasting, to funding and tax issues, plus feedback on their progress.
Jordon Christie, a 19 year-old CRC student from Haverhill on the PJEA BTEC Diploma Enterprise and Entrepreneurship course, has already set up his own business and feels expert advice from Grant Thornton will be invaluable as he develops the venture further.
“My on-line business ‘Opulent Leather’ is already up and running selling high-end leather goods such as iPad and phone cases - but this is just the start,” said Jordon.
“Having my own professional advisor as I grow the business is going to be a fantastic resource which very few start-ups are lucky enough to have. I hope the support will help me to go on and realise my ambitions for the business once I finish the course.“
In addition to the mentoring scheme, the Grant Thornton Cambridge team is holding workshops and ‘business surgeries’ at the college, offering 15-minute slots for the students to discuss their business ideas and gather useful hints and tips.
Paul Herbert, Business Enterprise and PJEA Manager at CRC, said: “The PJEA course is now in its third successful year and Grant Thornton’s mentoring support is the biggest commitment from a local business we have had to date.
“The mentors not only offer students the benefit of their professional expertise and experience, but also provide them with an independent ‘critical friend’ to talk to and discuss their plans. We have found this approach really focuses the students’ minds and is extremely valuable as they progress through the course.”
The scheme is part of a UK-wide partnership between PJEA and Grant Thornton to help train and motivate young students through a unique ‘learning by doing’ approach.
Tracy Andrews, Senior Tax Manager at Grant Thornton’s Cambridge office, who is coordinating the mentoring team, said: "Grant Thornton is delighted to be working alongside the PJEA at Cambridge Regional College. The programme aligns well with our own strategy, reflects our values and provides our people with the opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of others, while at the same time developing their own skills, both personally and professionally.
“The demand for talent across our region remains strong and the supply of commercially aware, confident and able young entrepreneurs is essential to support and unlock the region’s potential.”
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