Building a stronger bridge to support young entrepreneurs

By Chris Sheppardson, CEO at EP Innovates (

Business needs great people and it needs a vibrant younger generation willing to push the boundaries, break down barriers and create positive change.  But young entrepreneurs also need more help to find growth today, so we do need to find a way to build stronger bridges. Historically, the UK economy has tended to thrive when entrepreneurship is strong; we also know that small businesses are the lifeblood of that economy.  Yet today, younger businesses face greater times of challenge imposed by the impending Brexit battle and further restraints created by GDPR compliance, not to mention the additional barriers that many larger businesses create today through their own policies and processes.

It’s becoming increasingly difficult for younger generations to develop and grow within that environment.  Leaders today talk of their desire to work with young innovators of the future and yet the irony is, they seem to struggle to find a way to connect through their own restrictive processes.  It borders on the slightly ridiculous when you that that business leaders want to work with innovators but can’t.  Surely it is time to find a better approach to being these two worlds together. There is consistent evidence that there are some exceptional ideas, concepts and young inventors in the world today and if they can find a route to success through an easier, more welcoming process, the market will prosper as a result.

Breaking the cycle

Talent is also all around us, with great people who are simply struggling to find their path through traditional and archaic recruitment processes.  In a world that cries ‘skills shortage’ every five minutes, it seems madness that we continue to ignore the wealth of talent and skills around us as we watch lack of trust in leadership grow and workplace culture diminish.

We also hear so much talk about the need for new leaders to come to the fore and take their place in today’s struggling businesses.  But while people (especially the young) are so afraid to fail at anything, how can they grow as influential and experienced leaders?  Young people are walking into a working world of struggles and stress, swamped by mental illness, depression and numerous barriers to entry.  We need to break this cycle and see past the compliance and policies.

There have always been barriers

In truth, many would argue that there have always been barriers into the corporate world but there also used to be greater acceptance that teams and companies may have to journey through thoughts, character and failure to find success. There is also a lot of past research that indicates that the best performing companies are those that have a strong split in diversity from a team perspective.

Diversity itself is key, we need difference of opinion and varied ideas to learn and grow. We also need to recognise that regardless of industry or job title, skills are transferable from sector to sector if culture allows it. Great innovators will seek to disrupt the norm and create change, they also make a difference to the world as we know it so it is vital that we foster an environment that they can find a voice in and flourish.

People are faced with increasing restrictions and that doesn’t naturally provide the best environment in which to grow. Take GDPR, people say it hinders small business success and has become yet another barrier.  The truth is, GDPR as a principle is not all bad, but the issue is business has become too reliant on email communication even though good business has always been about developing strong personal relationships.  There is an argument that suggests perhaps we need to get back to some old school practices and start talking in the real world again?  History says it works so it could work again.

Great people are worth fighting for

Building stronger bridges to help younger entrepreneurs to grow find their path in the world today is critical not just for our economy, but also for the future of our workforces.  Great people, great ideas and great products make our workplace fun, dynamic, interesting and loyal – surely that as a principle is worth fighting for?


About EPinnovates (

A shop window for entrepreneurial innovation, EPinnovates has been created to showcase exciting innovations, new products, services, concepts and businesses forlarger companies to discover and explore.  Designed to recognise and support the innovation that entrepreneurs and smaller businesses bring to the future economy, EPinnovates tells stories about entrepreneurs; each has a different tale, adventure and overcomes diverse obstacles, but all are looking to improve business and create value.  Accessing these ideas and innovations can be difficult forbusinesses to truly discover so EPinnovates acts to bridge that gap and help to engineer the future for the better byintroducinglarger companies to entrepreneurs through the principles of trust, community and relationships.

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