20 year old Max Lockwood, is launching his own T-shirt design and printing business with support and a grant from the Kirklees Youth Enterprise Centre.
What makes this venture different from many other enterprises backed by the centre is that Max has learning difficulties as a result of Downs Syndrome. But Max wants to use his new business, titled OUR T-SHIRT, to make a virtue of his disability by using his T-shirt designs to raise awareness of the condition.
Some of the designs have a common theme of Chromosome 21, the extra chromosome that causes Downs Syndrome. For example, one design features a stylish music keyboard motif with a single red key and 20 black ones. OUR T-SHIRT will also print T-shirts to customers’ own designs, including photos of family members, friends, or heroes, or slogans and designs for social messages and causes.
Max has been awarded a grant of £5000 from the Kirklees Youth Enterprise Centre (KYEC) for crucial start-up equipment for his new business following initial research, the preparation of a detailed business plan and undergoing a Dragons’ Den style selection process. As part of the programme he is provided with a business advisor and mentor. The grants scheme and the Centre is part financed through the European Regional Development Fund, The Department of Education and Kirklees Council and is based at the Creative and Media Studio School in Huddersfield.
Visit Max’s website HERE! > http://ourtshirt.co.uk/
Max intends to work with Huddersfield Down Syndrome Support Group to whom he will make a donation from the profits of Chromosome 21 designs. He also plans to offer printing services to local not-for-profit organisations and charities. At the launch of OUR T-SHIRT on 11th December Max said: “I am really excited about my new business and I have a clear message for my campaign. It is ‘Down’s Syndrome is part of me; I haven’t a disease and I am not a victim. I am as different as you are”.
Denise Stones, business manager at KYEC said: “Max has been awarded a grant under the KYEC scheme because his business plan met the funding criteria and it offers an innovative marketing proposition aimed at a distinct market. It shows that people such as Max with learning difficulties can, with the right support, be helped to realise their ambitions like anyone else. KYEC is about helping young people to realise their dreams, whether they are passionate about business or have a passion that they want to turn into a business.”
The Kirklees Youth Enterprise Centre project is part financed by the Yorkshire and Humber European Regional Development Fund Programme 2007 to 2013. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund Programme which is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs.
Kirklees Youth Enterprise Centre is unique resource in the area designed to help young people 14-19 year olds set up and run their own business. As part of the programme clients were able to apply for grants for start-up equipment. All clients receive help from a dedicated business advisor and a mentor. The Centre is based at the Creative &Media Studio School, part of the Netherall Learning Campus in Huddersfield. The £4.9m Centre was set up in 2013 and is part funded through a European Regional Development Fund and the Department of Education.
The programme has helped 67 young entrepreneurs to start a business. www.kyec.org.uk
Down’s Syndrome is a genetic condition involving an extra chromosome which occurs around the time of conception and affects one in 700 births. About 750 babies with Down’s syndrome are born in the UK each year. Down’s syndrome affects people of all ages, races, religious and economic situations. It is estimated that there are around 60,000 people with Down’s Syndrome living in the UK.
People with Down’s Syndrome all have a certain degree of learning disability. This means that they develop and learn more slowly than other children. However, most children with Down’s Syndrome today will walk and talk, most will read and write, go to mainstream school and look forward to a semi-independent adult life.
Down’s Syndrome is not an illness; people with Down’s Syndrome do not ‘suffer’ as a result of the condition. With early intervention from parents and professionals and continued stimulation throughout life, most people with Down’s Syndrome will achieve well beyond former expectations