65 entrepreneurial students from hairdressing, catering, construction trades and business courses attended a presentation by The Isle Of Wight Chamber Of Commerce as part of Start Your Own Business Week. Island High Sheriff Claire Locke (founder of  Artigiano) spoke about why and how she started her own successful business which grew to £20m turnover.

Kevin Smith, Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive talked about the opportunities available on the Island. With over 6000 businesses there is a lot of opportunity for employment. But employers want more than just academic qualifications – they want keen, enthusiastic people and these are the sort of people who can succeed running their own business.

Great things can be achieved

Michelin Chef, Robert Thompson ( @RThompsonIOW) from The George in Yarmouth said he had always wanted to cook. He started at the bottom aged thirteen doing seemingly menial tasks but it was all part of learning the business. Even things like having polished shoes are important. Then at sixteen he started a three year catering course.  He has worked in many kitchens and one thing he has learned is that you must respect your team. Great things can be achieved if you’ve got a good team who all get along and you can depend on.

I became a head chef with a Michelin star at the age of 23 because Germain Schwab allowed me to grow as part of his team. I had to be determined and work very hard

Robert Thompson, Michelin Chef from The George Hotel, Yarmouth

Tom Colwill from the Crossfit Valentis gym in Cowes has recently opened his first business, and he thanked the Isle of Wight Lottery for their help as it would not have been possible without it.

Tom said he thoroughly enjoys his work and hope to expand the business in the future.

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Finally Marcus Mason, from the British Chambers Of Commerce said “We have heard about setting up businesses and creating jobs and we want to encourage more people to consider starting their own business.”

If you are thinking about starting your own business remember you can contact Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce for advice.


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