Despite recent calls to end the ‘everyone’s a winner’ culture in academia, this month I find myself embracing it – or at the very least wishing I could apply the ‘gold, silver and bronze’ mentality we have all become so familiar with this summer.
Alongside preparing for the academic year ahead, this month I’ve had another extremely enjoyable month of meetings with local businesses. This time, it was the turn of the three finalists in the Young Entrepreneur Of The Year category of The Press Business Awards.
On the face of it, the three businesses are incredibly diverse: a nail salon and training company, a poultry farm and a business providing exercise therapy to the elderly and people with disabilities.
In fact, I discovered some striking similarities.
What impressed me most about all three finalists was their clarity, focus and long-term vision for their respective businesses.
All three entrepreneurs are absolutely clear about what they are doing and what they want to achieve. They each demonstrated an in-depth understanding of their market, products or services, and all have very clear business plans, not just covering the short term but stretching into the five and ten years ahead.
And, while all of the plans are ambitious, they are also incredibly well thought out, and – from what I saw during my short visit to each business – eminently achievable. It was fantastic to see this level of quality and focus, particularly when ‘poor business plans’ are cited by the banks as one of the major reasons for refusing to lend.
These three entrepreneurs, all aged under 30, also share a determination to succeed, and incredible wisdom. Their future visions aren’t just about them as individuals. They are each focused on creating sustainable business models and employment opportunities.
I left every visit impressed and inspired. I say it often, but we really do have some incredible talent here in North Yorkshire, and it’s always fantastic to see it in action. These young entrepreneurs represent a snapshot of that talent, and they’ve left me with a very difficult decision to make.
So as I sign off to mull over my decision, I’m back to where I started. It’s clichéd, and we’ve heard it so often during the Olympic and Paralympic Games but, in my view, everyone here really is a winner.