Jim Duffy: inspiring people over 40 to become entrepreneurs

Just how and why Ed Balls has not been eliminated from Strictly Come Dancing is one of the many mysteries that have been on Jim Duffys mind this week. Picture: PA

Just how and why Ed Balls has not been eliminated from Strictly Come Dancing is one of the many mysteries that have been on Jim Duffys mind this week. Picture: PA

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After puzzling over a strange week, Jim Duffy is excited by a project that helps people achieve their dreams regardless of their age

It’s been a weird old week. I’m stumped at the whole Hillary Clinton email-FBI thing. Is that why Mr Trump calls her ‘Crooked Hilary’? He must have some basis, eh?

I’m even more bamboozled that Ed Balls is still on Strictly! He’s now apparently sending sexy texts to an injured contestant offering to rub her ankle better. That image just doesn’t work for me at all.

I’m struggling with my daughter to make her understand the consequences of not getting her car booked in for a MOT. You have one week Hannah and the car is off the road! There is nothing more poignant than your dad outing you in a national newspaper...

Prince Harry has the hots for Meghan Markle and of course we are finding out everything about her in the red tops. Apparently, she stripped down to her underwear in a steamy scene in the US drama Suits…..she’ll make the perfect Royal princess then.

And to round it all off, I’m being told the poppy is a political statement and our international footballers can’t wear it on their shirts. This has really got me hot under the collar. So it’s fair to say I was feeling a bit volatile, my head in a hurly-burly and I needed something to cheer me up. Then I found it.

I woke up yesterday, jumped on the train and read my Scotsman. I saw that Brian Souter, one of Scotland’s richest men is now richer, as his investment firm is doing well. I love to see people being successful. I read that the movie Trainspotting T2 is coming out soon. My generation needs this sequel as it was left hanging the last time. I can’t wait to see Kelly Macdonald again. But, the big news, the one that inspired me to put pen to paper is the news that a young entrepreneur called Bruce Walker is continuing to create something very special in and from Scotland. It’s called We Are The Future (WATF).

So why am I so excited? Well, I’ve known Bruce for a couple of years now. He’s a lovely young man who has a big dream. The American’s call it ‘a Big Hairy Audacious Goal’... but then, they would. Bruce started WATF with next to nothing. He has cobbled it together on a shoestring over the last three years. He is, although he might not class himself as such, an entrepreneur. He has built his venture slowly and built a very decent brand with some big names backing him. I’ve been lucky to speak at his Edinburgh and London events. Trust me when I tell you that they are good events to attend.

I’m not selling tickets here, but a note I received yesterday by a good mate struck me: she asked me why forty-somethings were not entering the world of entrepreneurship. It is always seen as a young person’s game. That’s not entirely true though. The average age in the 12 Entrepreneurial Spark Hatcheries across the UK is 37. I’m sure other big national and international programmes like Mass Challenge that promote entrepreneurship also have a decent clutch of forty somethings. In fact, I know they do. So, why is the world of the entrepreneur seen as young and why are people like Bruce changing this so that you too can have a go at starting something?

Like everything in life, there are stereotypes. The taxman always pictured in a pinstripe suit, all Indians look like Gandhi and Americans are loud and crass. So too with entrepreneurs. The picture painted is young, hip, jeans, hoodies, fancy coffee and bravado. Far from it, from what I see as I travel around the UK. I see mums building businesses as they raise teenagers. I see forty-somethings everywhere coding, selling, pitching and attracting investment. The life experience they bring to the table is awesome (sorry - an Americanism for bloody great). But, to be great or awesome, they need people like Bruce.

What people like Bruce do is create aspiration for all ages. WATF is not all about young people. It incorporates all age groups and its events are set up as friendly, optimistic learning opportunities, where we can all gain nuggets of wisdom, while making new friends. I’ll be honest, I don’t see that too much anywhere. The tone of the We Are The Future events is set by the founder, Bruce - his easy-going, but determined personality is threaded through the events. And we all need to support catalysts like him who dropped out of university to start something that he felt was going to help others achieve their dreams and ambitions. So, wherever you are and regardless of age, give this one due consideration.

Thanks Bruce for inspiring me. I’ve forgotten all about Ed Balls.

Agitator and disruptor Jim Duffy is Head of #GoDo at Entrepreneurial Spark

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