We asked some of the latest winners about their experiences of the LSE Generate funding competition and as an entrepreneur, next up is James Bonner:
Who are you and what does your venture do?
I’m James, co-founder of YoungThoughts.org. YoungThoughts.org is an online platform designed to give young people of all backgrounds the opportunity to make their voice heard about the issues that matter to them. Any young person with an opinion can contribute, provoke thought and add to the discussion. It aims to dispel the negative stereotypes commonly associated with young people.
What’s it like to compete and win funding from LSE Generate?
Competing in the LSE Generate Funding Competition was a great learning experience. The final pitch was pretty nerve wracking because I’d never had to do anything like that before but once I got going it was really good fun.
The stages before that were also really good. Stressful? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely. As well as improving my persuasive writing skills massively it also forced me to put the rough ideas I had in my mind into an actual development plan (with research to boot). YoungThoughts is a better business and will be more successful as a result.
What’s your favourite thing about LSE Generate?
The fact they gave us money! The opportunity to make YoungThoughts’ case on paper and then pitch to a panel of investors makes LSE Generate pretty awesome in my book.
What’s the strangest thing that you have had to do as an entrepreneur?
I’m not really sure I’ve done anything that strange. The closest thing is probably when I first bought the domain name and YoungThoughts became a reality. Mel (YoungThoughts’ other co-founder) had proposed the idea beforehand and I liked it but didn’t really do anything about it. Later that day I went to the pub with a few mates from halls and the idea was stuck in my mind. The more I thought about it, the more I thought it was a great idea that, given the political rhetoric about young people at the time (March 2015), was absolutely necessary.
So anyway, after we walked back to halls and the others went to bed I fired up my laptop, went online and bought YoungThoughts.org. The next morning, after I checked my bank balance (which had now become an overdraft), it seemed pretty crazy. Now though, it seems like the best thing I’ve ever done!
You can watch a selection of Lent Term winners pitch alongside Michaelmas Term winners for extra funding and the accolade of LSE Entrepreneur of the Year or LSE Social Entrepreneur of the Year on Thursday 9 June. And after the competition, on the same evening, you can celebrate all of Generate’s success stories and meet the teams behind them at our summer party!