Zoe Jackson started her own business at just 16

Zoe Jackson started her own business at just 16

Young entrepreneur and award winning business woman Zoe Jackson set up her performing arts company, Living the Dream, when she was just 16 years old.

Six years on with the help and support of Virgin Media Pioneers, Living the Dream has grown beyond recognition and now helps over 500 talented young people in London.

The on-going involvement with Virgin Media sees the launch of a new interactive TiVo dance app with some of the top names in the dance industry involved, sharing their dance moves and fitness tips. The interactive dance app is the latest addition to TiVo’s extensive app line-up which includes a range of dedicated content apps plus BBC iPlayer, Spotify, Twitter and YouTube.

Sharing her success in business, here Zoe tells us her top five tips for launching and developing your own business idea:


I believe that the power of networking - getting out there, talking to people and building relationships are key to making things happen.  Have the confidence to ask for advice or potential contacts, you never know, their help or connections could be invaluable.

Networking isn’t just about promoting your business, it’s about building and developing relationships with people and looking for opportunities to help and connect people - and although they might not be able to return the favour, unexpected opportunities may come from unexpected people. For example, Virgin Media’s online community for young entrepreneurs, Virgin Media Pioneers, was hugely useful to me as it provided a space to connect with a range of different people as well as offering support.


Seek advice from your bank, and take advantage of the advice that’s all over the internet.  Find out about funding, particularly the Government’s new Start-up Loan Scheme. 


The belief you have in yourself and your business idea is your most precious commodity and communicating your passion about your product or service will make people remember you. If I didn’t have a genuine love for dance I would not be able to share this with others to launch exciting new dance platforms, such as the new dance app for Virgin Media’s TiVo.


It helps to be able to tell a good story about yourself and your business.  I have got some amazing PR and opportunities through telling my story,  that I set up Living the Dream when I was 16 years old, as a means to fund my own performing arts training and education as my parents and I couldn’t afford it.


I’ve learned from Richard Branson’s business philosophy: “Have fun, do good and the business will come”. I sincerely endorse his view that every business has a moral obligation to make a significant positive difference in today’s world. The key is to help others selflessly in any way you can, and the karma will return to you when you need it most.



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