Elizabeth Blake Thomas
Company: U+ (www.uplusproject.com)
Favorite Tweeter: Arianna Huffington
1. Provide a 2 sentence biography of yourself and/or mission statement.
Having been involved in the creative industries since I was 4 years old, I believe young people need creative influences in their life to enable them to fulfill their potential.
2. Describe your business and why you started it. What is it that differentiates your business model from others?
I am founder and creative director of U+ which is a free initiative for young people that enables them to show, share and sell their work turning it from talent to enterprise. It is all about empowering young people.
3. What is one challenge you’ve experienced with your business and how have you overcome it?
When we have an individual that actually sells a piece of their work or is able to actually take their creative hobby to the next stage. One of our members is currently running his own animation club and another one is filming his first series. We are able to help young people because we believe age is irrelevant and it's down to passion, tenacity and perseverance. We then give them the right contacts.
4. Which entrepreneur inspires you and why? What industry do they work in and what accomplishment is unique to them?
Kelly Hoppen is very similar to me in that we both started in 15/16 years old in our first business. I set up a theatre school. She lost her father, my parents divorced and so my father left and I learned determination. At 54, she is running her own empire and this is all sorts of things from book deals to tangible business items. This is what I would like to be doing.
5. What is one development you foresee in your industry in the next 10 years?
I'm hoping education will be completely turned on its head as its been the same since the industrial revolution. Children need to learn in very different ways and need to be accepted for being different.
6. What trait is most important to succeeding in entrepreneurship?
Passion and understanding of the industry and absolute determination to change things.
7. What if one piece of advice you would give to someone considering starting a business?
Choose an industry you know a lot about and if it can involve your family in some way it means you get to see them! My company's ambassador is my daughter Isabella blake Thomas.
8. What is your favorite book on entrepreneurship and one lesson you learned?
My favourite book is one I'm writing called The ripple effect. It's for mums who want to start a business and so it's points are short and to the point!
I also love any books by Malcolm Gladwell!