New scheme supports next generation of entrepreneurs

An exciting new project in Whitstable giving young entrepreneurs the opportunity to bring new products to market and learn about running a business in a live retail environment is now up and running.

The joint initiative between Canterbury City Council and Amelix Education, with financial backing from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, is being run at the South Quay Shed at Whitstable Harbour over the next year.

Amelix Education has opened The Shed Load at Unit 8 in the venue. It will operate on rotation, offering different groups of young people and early career entrepreneurs the chance to develop and put on sale new products and services.

First up to take advantage of the opportunity are students and staff from St Nicholas School, who have a range of zero waste, refill products, ethical and eco-friendly British sourced products. They are also selling various garden ornaments made on site at their school.

The shop will also feature Charlie Berry, 17, a member of the Amelix entrepreneurship course at Canterbury Academy, selling a range of sweets and treats. And future plans include making it a local vegetable box pick-up point and selling handmade jewellery.

Lord Mayor of Canterbury, Cllr Jean Butcher, and Sheriff of Canterbury, Cllr Tom Mellish, visited the unit yesterday (Thursday 30 November) to meet the students and staff and declare it formally open for business.

Charlie Berry said: “It’s a great launchpad for young entrepreneurs. I wouldn’t be able to take that first step without the support it is going to offer me and others hoping to start a business on their own.”

Chairman of the Whitstable Harbour Board, Cllr Chris Cornell, said: “The harbour has provided jobs to local families for generations and a project like this shows just how we can guarantee it continues to support us into the future.”

CEO of Amelix, Russell Sauntry, said: “It is vital for the country’s economy for all children to have opportunities to develop their entrepreneurial spirit. This is something that is best developed in the cauldron of real life business, and this project offers that opportunity.

“We wanted to offer a space that provided an outlet for local people to be able to shop for ethical reusable products whilst providing opportunities for young people to experience a real life business environment for their own ideas.

“The huge support received from Canterbury City Council and wonderful encouragement and help from the other South Quay Shed traders, has facilitated this unique project. The long-term aim is to realise enough profit to enable this scheme to become a sustainable, self-funding project for years to come.”

Charlie is pictured above at the launch event with the Sheriff and Cllr Cornell.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government’s Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025. The Fund aims to improve pride in places and increase life chances across the UK, investing in communities and places, supporting local business, and people and skills.

The Shed Load project has received funding of £8,750 from the UK government, through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, to cover the rent, utility charges and business rates for the full year of the unit’s operation at the South Quay Shed.

Find out more information about The UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

Published: 1 December 2023

Sign up for email alerts

You can sign up to receive notifications when a post is added to an area you’re interested in.

Sign up