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What’s the ideal age to set up a start up?


Twenty-five, or thereabouts, according to Y Combinator, an elite, business accelerator (www.ycombinator.com). Meanwhile, the Kauffman Foundation (www.kauffman.org) says the average age of successful start-up founders is 40, and high-growth start-ups are almost twice as likely to be launched by people over 55.

So, all this goes to show is that age doesn’t really matter.  What does matter, is mindset.  Do you think like a fresh newbie on the block or do you resign yourself to the fact that nothing can really change, and you’ll just muddle on through making the best of it until it’s ‘clock and slippers’ time?

This year CTN is 25 years old and our ambitions back then were to create cutting-edge productions that would help our clients share their stories with the world.  This hasn’t changed.

There’s something wonderfully liberating to know that you’ve got a successful quarter-century track record under your belt but loads of ideas and a list as long as your arm of things you’d still like to do.

As CTN turns 25 and Embolden and The Leadership Agency (TLA) are born, we’ve had some hefty debates in the office about how much we should talk about the past, and how much we should just focus on where we want to go.  I don’t see it as an either or. While we are the sum of our experiences and many achievements, we want to be judged on what we produce today, on our creativity and our ideas.

Embolden and TLA have excellent DNA: creativity, focus, relationships, sheer and utter skill.  But it’s what we now do with that DNA that will count.

We are taking all the talent, experience, knowledge and wisdom of the past 25 years and using it to launch us into the next quarter-century -whether it’s with people who have been on the full nine-yard journey, or those who started with us yesterday.

It’s not about throwing the baby out with the bathwater. We’re not really going to become a start-up.  We’re just thinking and acting like a start-up (or what used to be called ‘entrepreneurial spirit’). It’s not about chasing a fashion or adopting a mode.  We’re not all growing beards; at least, I’m not! We don't have to move to Shoreditch to feel like Shoreditch.  It’s about a spirit that we are unleashing.

The excitement of doing new things, of being ourselves, of focussing on what we most love doing and are best at doing, creating a virtuous circle of energy and creativity.

Watch this space – the beginning has just started!


Rebecca Denholm, Embolden Head of Film