Calling all budding young entrepreneurs

A new series of networking events to help young local entrepreneurs aged 18 to 30 is being launched by the council’s economic development team.

Two young business men wearing blue and grey suits posing for a photograph.

The launch event is being hosted at Launchpad Southend on Friday 16 February from 10am to midday. These networking events are part of a new initiative called YES (Young Entrepreneurs Southend) and is being set up to empower, inspire and support young people who are looking to start or grow their business or broaden their connections.

The newly formed YES initiative is co-founded and organised by Takondwa Maosa and Ben Cluett. Ben joined the council last year as a Business Navigator in a new role that was specifically created to help local businesses grow and succeed. Ben has already led numerous successful projects and being only 21 years old is eager to help drive our economy by encouraging young local people.

Takondwa and Ben will be unveiling the plans for the year ahead for this new group at the launch event. Takondwa who has already set up an award-winning streetwear clothing brand, will also be the lead guest speaker. Takondwa is co-founder of Divided London streetwear. He grew up in Southend-on-Sea and will be hoping to inspire other like-minded young entrepreneurs at the event. Takondwa and fellow co-founder Daniel Fairhead, both from Southend met each other at senior school and originally set up their business back in April 2021 during lockdown when they were only 19 and 20 years old. Their business has taken the internet by storm with sports personalities and actors participating in their Instagram challenge with the Divided London hand sign. The Southend duo won the "highly commended" award in the category of "Inspirational Youth" at the Pride of Essex awards in 2022.

Local schools are being given the opportunity to participate and at every networking event, business studies students will be invited to attend. The first school to participate in the launch event is Cecil Jones Academy.

The launch event is already proving popular, so anyone aged 18 to 30 who is interested is urged to register today.

Councillor Daniel Nelson, cabinet member for economic growth and investment, said: “This is an exciting new initiative that I'm delighted to be involved in, especially as we've been able to secure a successful young entrepreneur, who grew up in Southend to be part of our launch event. This is a really valuable opportunity to learn directly from someone who really knows how to make a business succeed.

“We hope as many young entrepreneurs as possible will take advantage of this free session with inspiring talks, helpful and practical advice and an opportunity to expand their connections with like-minded local young people.”

To register for this free event please visit our Eventbrite page or email:

Published: 7th February 2024

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