The Next Big Thing is a highly interactive 8-week programme for 16-18 years olds that educates, inspires and supports young people to unlock their potential. During the course of the programme, participants work with specially selected mentors from the world of business to develop a business idea over seven weekly sessions. Participants receive a minimum of 12 hours intensive mentoring from experienced and committed business people
Teams are coached by professional actors who work with them to hone their presenting skills
Teams present their business idea, Dragons’ Den style, to a panel of judges drawn from a range of business backgrounds. The winning team is given the opportunity to start their business with an investment of up to £1,000 and a programme of support.
Established in north-west London in 2010 the programme has been successfully run in a number of boroughs across London, including inner city boroughs such as Southwark, Newham and Tower Hamlets.
Update – December 2016
Over the past few years we have worked to extend our reach into more schools in the London area. We have, however, found funding difficult to raise. Our model depends on schools signing up to the programme and contributing to programme costs. We know that our programme is well-received by participants and teachers alike and that it is effective in boosting important things like self-confidence. We also know, however, that there are other enterprise programmes which are less rich but also much cheaper for schools. This means that some schools who might otherwise like our programme say they cannot afford it. Many other schools simply prefer to offer much lighter touch programmes.
The rest of our funding has to come from corporate partners and from grants. We have managed to raise sufficient funding to operate at a low level, but this has not been sufficient to enable us to grow and become sustainable.
We have therefore concluded that the business is no longer viable and we are dissolving the company. We have made our materials available to The Mercers’ Company for use in their similar programme. Other charities and social organisations that might like to use our material are invited to email firstname.lastname@example.org to explain their programme and how our material might fit in.
We would like to thank all those who have worked so hard to help young people over the past few years – our directors, our staff, volunteer mentors, other volunteers and corporates.