Young Entrepreneurs Panel Session
11:30am until 12:30pm
Philip Cockayne, Caroline Towers, Matt Lamont, Haigh Simpson, James Whitfield and Ellie MacDonald
Bradford has one of the youngest populations in Europe. With 25% under 16, a vibrant business community, a strong start-up scene and plenty of opportunities (from tech start-ups to independent retailers), Bradford is a hot-bed for young entrepreneurs.
Along with low living costs, easy transport links and a strong commitment to enterprising change, the city needs to be seen to be welcoming to young businesses (and most importantly, young business owners) and encouraging them to spread the word, share their experiences and prove that Bradford is open for business for young start-ups too.
This panel will teach you what it's like to start a business as a young person (in Bradford), what lessons can be learned and how you can make the most of your passion and turn it into a viable business.
Chairman | Yorkshire Group of Junior Chambers (JCI)
Management Consultant | Good Governance Institute
Acting President | JCI Bradford
Board Member | Get Out More CIC
Leadership Group member | Bradford Chamber of Commerce
Philip is a Chairman, Board Member and Management Consultant – all at the ripe age of 25.
After graduating from Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) in 2012 with a degree in Contemporary History, Philip joined a Bradford-based IT firm (Cloud2) as it’s first dedicated Business Development resource.
Is late 2013, Philip decided to take control of his own personal and professional development and focus in his attention in aligning his management and strategic thinking outside of his day job. It was at this stage that he joined JCI Bradford as Deputy President. Throughout 2014, Philip supported the growth of the chamber, a sleepy organisation with little exposure and very few partners and transformed it into a vibrant, growing, engaged and innovative organisation that supports it’s members in taking control of their own self development for the betterment of their careers and lives.
Philip was appointed to the National Board of JCI UK as Chairman of the Yorkshire Region (voted in by Yorkshire’s Presidents) to co-ordinate the chambers of the region and lead strategic conversations and initiatives across the Yorkshire Region.
Philip also sits on the board of a Keighley-based social enterprise (Get Out More CIC) which runs outdoor activities and workshops for children and corporates to improve health and well-being.
Philip is also a Management Consultant working with the Good Governance Institute (GGI) and specialises in provide Corporate Governance and Organisational Development support at Board-level in the health, education and third sector.
Philip is passionate about young people taking ownership of their own development needs by testing their experiences and skills outside of work in a voluntary capacity. This culminates in taking recognised leadership posts which will support people in getting leadership, management and strategic and elevates them in their career development (be that within an organisation or through their own business and enterprising interests)
Board Member | JCI Bradford
Marketing Director | JCI Bradford
Starting work in her family’s bike shop, Pennine Cycles, at 14 years old, Caroline always wanted to run her own business but to begin with lacked the confidence to do this. After school she worked for a variety of companies from a mortgage company to working for Social Services. Aged 19, Caroline trained as a Personal Trainer, this including fitness training, massage and nutrition. Looking for an escape from the 9-5 in 2011 she received her BA (hons) degree in Creative Writing and English Literature from Bradford University.
Upon graduating and not wanting to return to working for somebody else, Caroline did what she always wanted to do and started her own business. This was an online business in direct sales. This ignited a passion for business, she now owns and operates multiple businesses.
Caroline has been nominated three times at the Yorkshire Women of Achievement Awards, in 2012 for Young Woman of the Year and 2013 and 2016 for Business Woman of the Year.
In 2013 Caroline created the women’s lifestyle blog Conversations with Caroline. As a creative person to begin with it began as a hobby and a place to share her business journey. Over time this developed into a business of its own. She now shares travel, business, personal experiences and blogging tips. In 2016 she launched the successful Trigger Your Blog blogging course to help other bloggers from around the world grow their confidence.
Caroline is also the co-founder of the sport and fitness site Voltage Sport. As well, as offering blogging and social media coaching to small businesses and bloggers.
Caroline’s is passionate about helping young people find their own path. She is a mentor to young people stating out in business and feels strongly about following your dreams - No matter how big they are.
Caroline sits on the board of JCI Bradford as the Marketing Director and is proud to be from Bradford.
Managing Director | Festival Publications Ltd
Haigh is the owner and managing director of Festival Publications Ltd. a print and digital publishing company based in Bradford. After graduating with a first class degree in Journalism in 2012, Haigh joined hibu (formerly Yell Global) and was the company's first UK editor, managing four magazines and leading a pilot to introduce a series of community magazines to the UK.
In 2014 Haigh formed Festival Publications and launched the Saltaire Review magazine. Over the past two years the company has gone on to launch three more magazine titles (the Bradford Review, the Bingley Review and the Harrogate Review), a food and drink guide and several contract publications including the programme for the British Science Festival in 2015.
The business has also expanded into digital marketing in the past year, offering social media support, campaign management and video content.
Director and Designer | Foxduo Design
Director | Assembly Bradford
Treasurer, Designer and Director | Chapel Street Studio
Matt achieved a First Class Honours in 2011 and has since worked in a variety of design companies and set up his own business as well as been a director of two others.
Matts main role is as both director and design at Foxduo Design, which provides a range of design services, specialising in brand and print design. Working with a range of clients, in a variety of sectors such as Bradford Council, The Arts Council, Kala Sangam, Bradford College and UnLtd, Matt has been able to both grow his reputation as a designer as well as providing a specialsed service from Bradford City Centre.
As well as working as designer Matt also offers and teaches workshops about Design History. He has worked with design agencies providing inspirational talks, using his extensive design collection and also helped organisations such as ArtWorks, where we taught people who has previously been homeless, digital design and assisted an awareness campaign for Homelessness.
Matt is also one of the Directors of Assembly Bradford, a new coworking space in Bradford, which offers cost effective desk hire and facilities for creatives. The space houses his library of over 1,000 design books and design ephemera.
Matt also is both a treasurer and director of Chapel Street Studio which is a creative consortium cooperative, which offer a range of communication services from a group of specialist members who are experts in their fields. From animation to brand specialists, Chapel Street Studio has worked with clients such as The Southbank Centre, The British Science Association and Bradford Council.
As well as design, Matt’s interests are in teaching and researching. His future plans include starting a social enterprise, which offers design experience for young people wanting to start in the field by working with local charities, who do not have the budget to work with a professional design agency. He also plans to host exhibitions and teaching design part time.
Founder | MacComms
Ellie is a West Yorkshire businesswoman, entrepreneur and founder of PR-led marketing and communications firm, MacComms.
Ellie comes from one of the fastest growing marketing and PR agencies in West Yorkshire, where she worked as account manager, responsible for managing around a dozen accounts at any one time to enhance the profile and promotion of a range of businesses.
Prior to this position, Ellie worked for the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce as marketing manager. Responsible for delivering the Chamber’s marketing and communications strategy, Ellie took an active role in implementing an active schedule of PR and communications.
Ellie has vast social media management experience, having developed a number of social media accounts for a range of sub brands at the Chamber.
This experience put Ellie in good stead to form MacComms, which has experience substantial growth within 18 months. With offices in Huddersfield and Leeds, and a growing team behind her, Ellie is dedicated to supporting and promoting local businesses. MacComms helps to raise the profile and credibility of firms through press coverage, award entries and marketing, social media and event management support.
Following the success of MacComms business PR offer, Ellie has formed MacComms’ subsidiary, The Wedding PR Specialists, dedicated to helping wedding businesses to grow through increasing their exposure. A dedicated brand, website and social media platforms are in development to launch the wedding offer, with a number of wedding suppliers already on board as clients.
Managing Director | Vanacci
Co-founder of Vanacci, a renegade fashion start-up disrupting the everyday accessories that have dampened the design landscape with repetitive design and a lack of innovation.
Prior to Vanacci, James was involved in a number of design businesses including founding a design consultancy and an innovation branch of BMC which successfully brought a number of products to market. In 2014 he co-founded Vanacci with the aim to control the full process from product concept to creation ensuring quality sourced local materials and UK production.