The search is on for a new crop of budding young West Cumbrian entrepreneurs.

Positive Enterprise provides a £1,000 grant, mentoring and support to young people who want to start a business. It is open to anyone aged between 14 and 25 living in the former districts of Allerdale and Copeland.

Cumbria Community Foundation and the Centre for Leadership Performance run the scheme, funded by property developer Brian Scowcroft with match funding from Sellafield Ltd under its Transforming West Cumbria programme, Nuclear Waste Services, Well Whitehaven, Morgan Sindall and Kaefer.

As well as the grant, participants get six months’ support to include workshops, expert advice, mentoring and the opportunity to shadow local entrepreneurs.

Seven young people took part in the first Positive Enterprise earlier this year including Aiden Thompson, from Whitehaven, whose business Cumbria Coastal Crafts produces framed pebble art and customised laser engraved products.

Aiden received an extra £1,000 after judges were impressed by his presentation at a celebratory event to mark the end of the programme in July.

Aiden said: “The grant helped buy equipment and the initial stock and then I received mentoring and help selling my products and marketing myself. The extra £1,000 I spent on laser cutters to grow the business. For anyone who is thinking about going into business, I’d say just go for it.”

Rachel McCartney, from Holmrook, is setting up McCartney Sustainable Solutions to recycle food waste into compost, fertiliser and biofuel. She is keen to encourage others to seize the opportunity presented by Positive Enterprise.

She said: “The mentoring and guidance was the biggest thing for me – that people supported you and believed in your idea.

“I’d recommend anyone to start their own business, to genuinely just go for it, because in West Cumbria you’ve got the support there.”

Annalee Holliday, senior grants and programmes officer at Cumbria Community Foundation, is delighted by the scheme’s success.

She said: “We heard inspiring stories from the first intake of Positive Enterprise. It was gratifying to be able to help these young people fulfil their dreams and make their business a reality. I can’t wait to see what innovative business ideas come forward when we repeat the programme in 2024.”

Catherine Eve, executive director at the Centre for Leadership Performance in Cockermouth, added: “The aim is to empower young people to think differently and break down barriers for aspiring young entrepreneurs. The programme promotes self-belief and leadership skills to help young people find their voice and make a success of their business ideas.”

There is funding to support 10 young business people in 2024.

Apply online at:

Applications close on Wednesday January 3.