YES 2016 has come and gone however, the memories made are brimming with loads of knowledge gained, loads of experience shared and lastly loads of fun/laughter. You might be wondering, did I just say fun/laughter? Yes. The YES Conference was indeed a conference like no other.
The day started at roughly 8:45 am with the planning committee setting up the venue. There was excitement, loads of lifting and of course loads of walking. By 9:30am, guests started arriving. The whole event was divided into 2 parts:
Young Entrepreneur guest speaker sessions.
Young entrepreneur panel session.
With a total of nine entrepreneurs ranging from budding startups to multi-million pound established businesses, a lot of experience and knowledge was shared with the audience.
The speaker session kicked off at 10:00am with Elizabeth Shassere (founder of Textocracy). She was ecstatic, and shared how Sheffield has shaped her business so far. Her number 1 piece of advice was simple:
Take people for coffee and speak to lots of people about your business idea. They will be willing to help and will in turn put you in contact with other great people.
Elizabeth came to Sheffield without even an idea and less than three years later, she has a business that has literally been built by other people.
During the afternoon, Shiraz Mizra delivered a great motivational talk in which he encouraged the audience to:
- Stop procrastinating,
- Stop looking at their fears, and
- Stop running from failure but instead start failing forward.
How many times have you had an idea and have put it off, saying to yourself I will start tomorrow, or when I have more money I’ll start? The secret to achieving that business dream that you have been putting off since forever, is to start now.
After a great motivational session from Shiraz, the audience had a great talk from the renowned CEO of Super Jam, Fraser Doherty. Fraser shared his story of how he started his jam business from his parent’s kitchen, selling a few jam jars at a time at the age of just 14. Now aged 27 with several million jam jars sold, several awards won including one presented to him by Prince Charles, Fraser shows no signs of stopping his entrepreneurial conquest anytime soon. He is currently expanding his business in international markets such as South Korea, and has launched a new product.
The last speaker Andre Ferreira (co-founder of a drone company called Airstoc) had one main message for the audience and that was:
Do not be afraid to fail, persistence will carry you through it all.
During the young entrepreneur panel sessions, the audience got the chance to ask their burning questions to the entrepreneurs local to Sheffield. Questions ranged from Does being a female entrepreneur affect you in any way? To how do you get a mentor and even what happens if you share your idea with people and it gets stolen? How do you secure IP for those ideas? Key secrets that could only have been gotten by years of experience were freely shared by the local entrepreneurs to the audience, thus saving the audience the trouble of having to go out into the business world and learn those lessons the hard way.
Overall, YES 2016 celebrated Sheffield as an entrepreneurial city with a community that is highly supportive towards aspiring young entrepreneurs. By the end of the day, loads of networking, eating, learning and laughing had truly been done. To crown the day, Shiraz Mizra gave a final motivational talk in which the audience were reminded that they already have what it takes to become true entrepreneurs, and all they had to do was to get out of their comfort zones, limiting fears and negative criticisms by stepping out and taking action, no matter how little.
If you missed YES 2016, you really missed something special, but don’t worry because YES 2017 will be bigger, better and more entrepreneurial, see you there.