British Equestrian’s Young Professionals Programme welcomes new cohort of aspiring equestrian entrepreneurs
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British Equestrian has inducted a sixth cohort into its Young Professionals Programme, which aims to help young people build a wider skill set to support their personal and career development in the equestrian industry.
The 12-month Young Professionals Programme, which is funded by Sport England and delivered in collaboration with British Dressage, British Eventing and British Showjumping, has been running since 2017 and is open to young people who have recently set up an equestrian business or are planning to do so in the near future. The programme is built around a series of interactive workshops with specialist speakers, covering a broad range of topics essential to running any business. These include putting together contracts, understanding employment law, managing conflict, knowledge of insurance and finances, and building a personal brand.
The new cohort’s first workshop was held on Monday 17 October at British Equestrian’s head office in Warwickshire. Georgie Allen, who oversees the running of the programme, began the day by delivering a brief introduction that gave participants a taste of what they can expect from the next 12 months.
In the morning session, successful London entrepreneur Ricky Walters shared the journey of growing his business and creating a unique concept in SALON64 – a salon combined with a cocktail bar, that also offers a comfortable place for patrons to fix their make-up and charge their phone while on the go. Ricky talked about the lessons that he’s learned along the way, including the importance of creating a business model that stands out in a saturated industry and finding ways to add value for customers in order to increase revenue.
Jane Holden, Performance Lifestyle Advisor for British Equestrian’s World Class Programme and co-lead of the federation’s Perform Well mental wellbeing programme, led a personal development planning session in the afternoon. Participants were asked to think about what they need to do in order to achieve their aspirations and to consider their identity as a person, athlete and business owner. By understanding their values, strengths and purpose, they can begin to drive decision-making and take steps towards their goals and life fulfilment.
“I had a great first introductory session as part of the Young Professionals Program,” said dressage rider Megan Long, who joins the programme this year. “I left feeling very inspired by the guest speakers and ready to put what I learned into practice. I’m looking forward to being part of the program and continuing to network with like-minded individuals.”
Eventer Ellie Townend agreed. “The induction day today was brilliant,” she said. “To get an insight into how Ricky set up his business and his resilience throughout the whole process was very inspiring – I’m going to strive to be a ‘solution-finder’ and never take no as an answer in all aspects of my business and career, too. In terms of the personal development session, it was really interesting to look at my values because I’ve never really thought about it before. They’re something I need to make sure I stick by and pay more attention to when making decisions in all aspects of my business and life.”
“I’m really looking forward to the next Young Professionals session,” Ellie added.
David Hamer, Head of Performance Pathways, commented: “Like so many industries, the equestrian sector is facing uncertainty at the moment, and the challenging economic climate is hitting small businesses hard. Now, more than ever, we need to deliver initiatives such as the Young Professionals Programme to help young people who are transitioning into the equestrian workforce, so they get the support they need to shape and formulate their career and business aspirations.
“We know that the majority of equestrian athletes need to support their sporting aspirations with a viable business, so this programme offers a bespoke and unique process of support and education to enable these young people to do this alongside training and competition.”
The Young Professionals selected on to the 2022/23 programme are:
- Anna Bates
- Ella Hedgecox
- Evelina Shrieve
- Harry Corkett
- Jasmine Harding-Heitzmann
- Maisie Hodge
- Megan Long
- Sofia Jankiewicz (pictured)
- Alanis Milner-Moore
- Anna Johannson
- Eleanor Binns
- Ellie Townend
- Jack Whiteford
- Lucy Richards
- Molly Brown
- Morgan Wyatt
- Sara Bech Strøm
- Tom Woodward
- Jenna Palmer-Evans