New project to help young entrepreneurs unlock their potential

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Sami Lovett, working with young people as part of a recent PIECES Project programme at a school in Leeds

A programme of activities and courses that will give young people in West Leeds and beyond many more opportunities to develop their creative and entrepreneurial skills has been launched.

The not-for-profit PIECES Project, which stands for ‘Positively Inspiring and Empowering Creative Enterprises with Sustainability’, has been developed by Sami Lovett, the founder of Just Lovett Design – which will be moving from Farsley to Rodley – and the woman behind the Creative Enterprise Challenge. 

This school holidays-based programme has, for the past two years, given young people between the ages of 11-18 the opportunity to work as a team to conceive a new sustainable product idea, learn the skills to make it, and create a business plan for it in the space of just five days.

Now, Sami is hoping to build on the success of this challenge with the PIECES Project by providing an expanded range of activities and programme format. She believes the new model will remove many of the practical barriers to children taking part in the extra-curricular initiative, giving parents and carers greater flexibility, and increasing inclusivity.

The concept of the Creative Enterprise Challenge, whereby young people work in small teams to create a start-up business and a product, will continue. But Sami will now be providing the programme in the community, rather than at her workshop in Farsley, and at various times throughout the year.

Sami said: “In the space of two years we have helped nearly 400 young people develop and helped to inspire the creation of 38 businesses!⁠ But we know we can do much more, and this is why I wanted to develop the Creative Enterprise Challenge in line with feedback from those who have taken part, as well as those who wanted to but couldn’t.

“The key to being able to take the project to the next level has been the support of our sponsors and the schools and businesses who have agreed to let us use their premises across the Leeds area. This means we are taking the programme into the community, making it more convenient for young people to take part.”

In addition to new locations for the programmes, Sami has developed a number of different courses and formats, and linked up with local Scouting groups to create a special programme for their members. 

The new structure means young people will be able to develop their creative and entrepreneurial skills in after school clubs and through six-week introductory courses, which will run over the first or second half of a school term. Courses that are accessible for younger children and SEND (special educational needs and disabilities) children will also be planned into the calendar to ensure the barriers for taking part are removed.

Sami added: “I’m passionate about entrepreneurship having set up my own business at a relatively young age, but I don’t believe the regular school curriculum can support those young people who may want to start their own businesses. That’s why we’re working hard, supported by our generous sponsors, to provide extra-curricular activities to inspire young people, help them develop as individuals and thrive in their adult life.”

A variety of local businesses has been instrumental in providing funding and hands-on support to help the Creative Enterprise Challenge succeed, and they will continue to do so as it evolves into The PIECES Project. 

One major supporter is Morley Glass, a manufacturer of integral blinds for windows and doors. The company has funded free and subsidised places on the programmes for children from disadvantaged communities, and it donates hundreds of wooden boxes every month that would otherwise go to waste, which the children use as the main raw material to make their new products.

To find out more about the programmes and courses available within The PIECES Project, visit the website or e-mail sami@thepiecesproject.co.uk.

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