Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Generation Y & The Web Event Brought Brilliant Digital Brains Together

Generation Y might be the age group that people most associate with being super web savvy, but when it comes to business it is a different ball game. So, how does this supposedly tech savvy generation utilise all things digital when it comes to building a business empire?

As part of a joint celebration The Women's Organisation decided to team with YPAS (the Young Person's Advisory Service) to create an event to address just this as part our their Young Enterprise Programme supported by the Skills and Opportunities Fund.  As 2016 marks the 50th birthday of YPAS and the 20th birthday of The Women's Organisation, it seemed particularly fitting to come together to support young entrepreneurs through pooling expertise.

Rachel & Nici chatting to the group

'Generation Y & the Web' brought together a panel of experts, each with a different take on how to use digital to grow a business. Our experts included:

Liam Kelly – Director of MAKE Liverpool – a brand new space and workshop in the city’s North Docks to play, make and fix, bring an idea and take away an invention. With core equipment including 3-D printers, laser cutters and a photographic dark room – it’s the place to collaborate and create.

Chelsea Slater- Director Liverpool Girl Geeks, who are on a mission to decrease the gender imbalance within the tech industry and do this by hosting a series of events and workshops to inspire women and girls of all ages, as well as celebrate and showcase role models within the sector.  Chelsea is a digital marketing specialist herself aside from her role at Girl Geeks.

Lydia Jones - 17 year old creator of App –Fit Flash – the ultimate social platform for health and fitness individuals, an app that allows users to connect with like-minded people through the use of groups. Lydia began developing the app last year wanting to combat the isolation that she felt from home-schooling and make positive changes combining her passion of fitness with a digital element.

Rachel Brewster - owner of Little Vintage Photography - Previously Rachel ran Liverpool Screen School's technical department for LJMU alongside her ongoing freelance work in the media production industry for seven years. She set up Little Vintage Photography to focus on the unique convergence of analogue photography and digital technology across STEM subject areas, working to engage people from all socio-economic backgrounds in producing creative output.

Jo Austin - Digital Marketing and Engagement Coordinator at The Women's Organisation.  Jo has changed the face of marketing at The Women's Org and carved out a role for herself simply through soaking in all things social media and digital marketing.  From a starting point of having the 'facebook fear' over the last 8 years Jo has built the online presence of the organisation to ensure they maintain a Top 5% ranking worldwide on Twitter for retweet rate and has developed international training programmes to support small businesses in getting social media savvy. 

Business adviser at The Women's Organisation Jo Mountfort kicked off the event inviting the panel to talk about their journey and digital experience. The young entrepreneurs of the future attending the event were also invited to explain what their ideas were and where they felt stumped when it came to digital.

Lydia & Chelsea sharing their expertise

In un-conference style the experts then spread around the room along with Nici from YPAS and Jo to allow the attendees to break into smaller teams and grill the panel about their digital issues and what support is available for young people locally.

Some great advice surfaced as a result, some of the points recorded were:
  • You don't need to spend lots of money - use the tech you have
  • Google offer a lot of free services to social enterprise (adwords vouchers being one). Worth exploring
  • You are a personal brand and don't forget to build that part of your business
  • Collaborate where you can 
  • When blogging/using social try to involve your audience. Let them ask questions or interact in some way to keep them engaged. And don't forget vlogging is another way to blog
  • Bad social media looks like: Not enough pics, roo many links, too many quotes, irrelevent content, too much of anything
  • Good social media looks like: Right frequency for the channel used, videos when it comes to making facebook pop, paying for boosts when needed
  • Places to find more events to network or talk digital: Eventbrite, Twitter, Facebook, Getting on Mailing Lists, Asking other event attendees
Liam Kelly shares his wisdom while Jo Austin captures it in print

Feedback comments left by the Generation Y attendees included:
"Great range of different people to gather info."
"One of the most productive talks/sessions I've been to. More Please!"
"Good range of different industries. Learnt a lot. Thanks."
"Good insights, great range of people and skills. Thank you."
"Interesting seminar on digital applications. Will definitely recommend this event to anyone interested in the media industry."
"Wasn't too sure what to expect.  Leaving with contacts and leads! Thank you."
"Really productive session! Panel were great - really informative. Thank you."

Jo Mountfort closed the event by reminding those attending that if they want further support to start their business, mentoring and training is available to Liverpool City Region Residents through the new Enterprise Hub Business Start-up programme.  If you would like to find out more about that scheme contact the Enterprise Hub team on 0151 706 8113 or enterprisehub@thewo.org.uk

Anyone who would like to find out more about how YPAS support the mental well being of children and young people can visit www.ypas.org.uk or contact support@ypas.org.uk.

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