Tech City UK Blog

Young Founders is a completely free, not-for-profit, two-week summer bootcamp to inspire 16-18 year olds to consider entrepreneurship

We recently spoke to co-founder Ed Hardy to find out: why the programme has been set up; what the overarching goal is; and how they expect to achieve it.
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So, why are we taking two weeks out of our lives to run this? Frankly, it’s because we believe there are very few things more rewarding than building a startup. Startups are the craftsmen of today, creating beautiful products that people want to engage with. However, it’s tricky…very tricky. Myself and my co-founder founded our first business aged 16 and the two years that have followed have taught us an incredible amount.

We’ve failed at a lot, run into complications with HMRC and struggled with EU regulation but for every bump we’ve relished the experience – including the challenges. Few things can be more satisfying than seeing something you have created being enjoyed by thousands of people. We want to ensure that our cohort have access to the knowledge, skills and inspiration that our incredible set of mentors and speakers will provide over the two weeks. This combination, we hope, will give them the confidence to go on and found or join a startup.

The three core components to this are providing:

  • Inspiring talks & mentors: Leading industry Executives providing insight and expertise include: Andrew Fisher (Shazam), Eileen Burbidge (Passion Capital), Frank Meehan (Summly/Siri/Spotify), James Bromley (SwiftKey) and Matt Miller (ustwo – creators of Monument Valley). Founders participating also include those from outside of the tech sector to offer a broad range of experience
  • Critical skills. A range of seminars will focus on lean startup theory, IP, accounting, prototyping and pitching. These are provided from key industry practitioners including KPMG, Index Ventures & DN Capital
  • A vibrant workspace. Kindly provided by Central Working, in the heart of the East London tech scene filled with likeminded individuals in which to share and pool ideas

Crucially, there is no cost to the cohort and in an extra attempt to attract as diverse a gathering as possible, transport bursaries will be offered to exceptional candidates. Addressing issues such as gender imbalance are critical for us and we hope this will ensure that this attitude follows our cohort up into their careers.

The majority of jobs that our generation will go into over the course of their career don’t exist now. As a result, it’s important that as a generation we are at the forefront of creating these jobs of the future and we believe that startups have a critical role in achieving this.

Young Founders marks the start of a greater ambition to ensure that the current entrepreneurship movement in the UK is more than just a phase and becomes a critical part of the curriculum for British students going forward. No students should feel that starting their own business is a secondary career option and no student should feel they don’t have the support they need to get going.

Want to join us in helping to achieve this? We’d love you to hear from you – drop me an email on