Mark Hanington, operations director at Find Invest Grow UK, welcomes you to the Independent's new Young Entrepreneurs section

Hello all and welcome to the Young Entrepreneurs section of The Independent online, brought to you by Find Invest Grow UK (FIG).

In this brand new section we will aim to enlighten, advise and educate Britain’s budding entrepreneurs and create a hub of discussion amongst the UK’s brightest start-ups.

Every fortnight we will discuss the most important lessons we have learned from starting our own businesses and from working with a wide variety of start-ups to prompt community discussion around the topic.

We will also publish advice and lessons from a variety of emerging entrepreneurs alongside content from some of the world’s most successful businessmen and women who will be contributing guest articles and interviews.

FIG works with undergraduates and recent graduates to help them turn their ideas for businesses into reality. We provide free tools for would-be-entrepreneurs to analyse their concepts online. Between 200 and 300 start-ups approach us for support every month from a broad variety of industries, from FMCGs to Manufacturing, with products that have far reaching applications, from Medical Devices to Online Retail.

Through our work we have been fortunate to develop and work with a large network of successful and experienced individuals who have taught the start-ups and us so much. We wanted to share the knowledge gleaned and approached The Independent to partner with us to provide a platform to do just that.

We approached The Independent as they have such a strong reach in the student demographic. As the graduate job market is increasingly competitive, more and more students have chosen to pursue careers in or by founding start-ups, we thought that this would be a great way to reach as many students as possible who are considering this path and hopefully answer some of the questions they may have.

The UK has proven itself to offer fertile ground for the development of young entrepreneurs, but we seem to be shy in the promotion of this, with the exception of a few select internationally recognised entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson. For example, can you name any of the following?

  • The three graduates, one year out of university who founded Innocent Smoothies?
  • The undergraduate from Southampton University who created and sold it to CBS Corporation in 2007 for £140million?
  • The two graduates of Imperial University who founded and sold Bebo to AOL for £417million?
  • How about the 25- and 26-year-olds who started
  • The student from Nottingham university who launched
  • The Newcastle Graduates that built the worlds most famous accounting software company, Sage?
  • The 26-year-old who started his first mobile phone shop that he would eventually build into a brand we recognise on every high street in the country?
  • The product designer and innovator who launched his first product while still an undergraduate at the Royal College of Art?

They are;

  • Richard Reed, Adam Balon and Jon Wright
  • Richard Jones
  • Michael and Xochi Birch
  • Martha Lane-Fox and Bret Hoberman
  • Simon Dixon
  • David Goldman, Paul Muller and Graham Wylie
  • Charles Dunstone, founder of The Carphone Warehouse
  • Sir James Dyson!

We want to challenge perceptions and champion the recognition of some of the fantastic companies and individual entrepreneurs driving them in the UK.

We will also be posting some information on new and exciting programs for start-ups, such as the launch of the largest business plan competition in the world and a university wide student society accreditation scheme. We hope the articles and interviews in this new section of the Independent can help guide the UK’s brightest on their path to business success.