YOUNG business entrepreneurs looking to scale the business ladder can get a step up at the first networking event of its kind next week.

Aimed at young professionals, entrepreneurs and students aged 18-35, the Swindon & Wiltshire Young Entrepreneurs Network will bring together like-minded entrepreneurs and ambitious young people to connect.

Working in partnership with Swindon & Wiltshire Growth Hub and Business West, The Business Exchange is launching the young entrepreneurs networking group at its inaugural meeting next Thursday.

The networking events will enable members to make new connections in a relaxed atmosphere to mainly facilitate socialising and knowledge sharing.

Andrew Wells, initiative manager at Business West, said: “Business West works with hundreds of start-up businesses in Swindon & Wiltshire, so we’re the perfect a partner to help galvanise this growing business community.

“Furthermore, we can offer them expert advice and support to take their business further through a variety of support services encompassing start-up funding and innovation support.”

Anita Jaynes from The Business Exchange added: “We are keen for young people to shape this network and future events. We’re hosting our first meet up on Thursday January 31 in Swindon from 6.30-8pm and we welcome anyone who’s interested in coming along.”

Recent Research by Barclays Business Banking found that the proportion of UK start-ups run by entrepreneurs aged 25 and under in 2016 was just six per cent.

This is lower than any other age category of start-up owners, demonstrating a critical gap between ambition and the number of start-ups run by young people.

Ian Rand, CEO of Barclays Business Banking, said: "Today’s children are demonstrating new skills that have the potential to disrupt and innovate business and it’s no surprise that the UK has a generation of ambitious entrepreneurs waiting in the wings.

"However, something is going wrong as this passion from the younger population is not translating into numbers of start-ups run by those aged 25 and under. If we want this talent and ambition to flourish, we all need to encourage children who should have access to the right tools and resources to convert their dreams into the businesses of the future.”

The event will be free to attend and will be hosted at Desk Co-work in Old Town, 4 Devizes Road, Swindon. Refreshments to be provided.