Shell LiveWIRE was launched in 1982 and is sponsored by Shell UK Ltd. It promotes enterprise amongst 16-30 year olds by encouraging them, and their advisors, to see starting a business as a viable career option. It encourages sound business planning and continual monitoring in order to increase startups’ survival chances and also provides a business information resource.

Who is eligible?

Anyone aged between 16-30 can contact Shell LiveWIRE. Applicants for the young business startups awards have to be aged 16-30, running their own business and within their first 18 months of trading. Young businesses already up and running could also find Shell LiveWIRE’s range of business publications and training packs useful. These are free, or very cheap, and cover a range of topics such as managing people; business planning; market research; and how to become a successful owner manager.

What does it offer?

Year round help and advice

Shell LiveWIRE’s first points of contact are their hotline and internet site. Budding entrepreneurs can order a startup pack tailored to the business area they are interested in from either of these services. The pack contains a booklet on starting a business, advice on writing a business plan and marketing, details on the opportunities and legal issues in the area of interest, contact numbers for LiveWIRE’s direct business information line and details of a local LiveWIRE coordinator. There are over 100 coordinators nationwide who can give one to one advice on starting up and running a business and with whom the young entrepreneurs can regularly meet. They also offer a range of business publications, mentioned above.

The scheme also boasts a business networking facility, as well as a discussion forum where budding entrepreneurs can put questions to experts in a broad range of fields.

Monthly awards 

Shell LiveWIRE Grand Ideas Awards offer five entrepreneurs between the ages of 16 and 30 the chance to win £1,000 to boost their business idea. The awards run monthly and run alongside the larger, annual awards.

Annual awards

Shell LiveWIRE also runs the annual Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. Applicants compete in local and regional heats before reaching the national final. The national winner receives £10,000 and the title of young business person of the year.

Winners at both regional and national levels can benefit from publicity and a total of £200,000 is given out as prize money. Awards are also available to young businesses that have demonstrated considerable progress since starting up.

How does it work?

Young business people should contact Shell LiveWIRE’s hotline or website and order a startup information pack. They can then get in touch with their local office for access to an advisor and cheap or free business publications.

Does it work?

Since the scheme started in 1982, it has helped more than 600,000 young people, offering free local advice, information and business support. Shell LiveWIRE has 84,000 members in the UK alone, and has an international reach with a further 8,000 members in 20 countries worldwide.

Where to go for further help

The Shell LiveWIRE hotline is 0845 757 3252

The website address is

email [email protected]

Shell LiveWIRE
Design Works Unit 15
William Street
Tyne & Wear
NE10 0JP