Young Enterprise dedicated to finding Croydon’s future business stars


By - Wednesday 18th September, 2013

The Young Enterprise scheme has inspired young people to a life of business in Croydon for many decades


Not Croydon, but a typical YE scene – here in Bristol. Photo by Matt Buck. Image used under Creative Commons License.

The hustle and bustle of the market.

The disorder and confusion of people surrounding the precise placement of products on stalls.

This is market day… but not just any market day.

As blurry-eyed teenagers collect round their wares, like flocks of penguins huddling to keep the winter wind off the young, the season for the Croydon Young Enterprise trade fairs begins. North End, Surrey Street Market, shopping centres, and schools are all locations of choice for selling. For these young entrepreneurs, their first experience of selling and running a business is often cold, damp, and challenging. These groups of teens, who have formed companies of about 12-15 members at the beginning of the year, persevere; to source, make, then market and then sell their products to the Croydon and South London public.

Croydon has the great fortune of being able to provide a unique experience to these young people

In the space of six months, most companies have:

  • Sold shares to raise capital;
  • Produced or sourced a product;
  • Created a brand and a marketing campaign;
  • Attended several trade shows;
  • Sold a good number of products, and hopefully made a profit.

Most important, however, is the learning that occurs as part of this experience. Learning by doing.

Croydon has the great fortune of being able to provide a unique experience to these young people. They are hosted by fantastic businesses, whether they are SMEs or branches of national and international organisations. Croydon YE is indebted to these great business women and men who give their time to advise the young people involved in the programme. Without them, the experience would be much less than it is.

After the end of another long year, and as plans are put in motion for next year, there is great anticipation brewing. With some changes in the organisation, and new initiatives and ideas being trialled, 2013-14 is looking to be an even more exciting year for all involved.

If this brings back memories of starting your business, or leads you to wondering about whether you might be able to get involved, then please get in touch. Email the Croydon team at or look out for a YE event happening in Croydon from September 2013 onwards.

We look forward to all the fantastic support for this upcoming year from the many sponsors and volunteers that make this experience possible every year. We live by the mantra we vocalise: Learn by doing – it has got most of us to where we are now.

Louis Downs

Louis Downs

Louis is currently Vice Chair of Young Enterprise Croydon, part of Young Enterprise, (a Charity focused on delivering "learning by doing" to young people). The Croydon board of volunteers, and a number of advisors, supports and delivers the Company Programme to Young people in the borough of Croydon. Louis has been involved in this organisation for almost a decade, and as a local business owner has pride in the potential that Croydon has to offer.

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