Starting a Business

Have you ever wanted to start your own business? Joe meets young British people doing just that, and gets advice from entrepreneurs old and new, including Sir Richard Branson.

Watch the video and do the first Task. Then watch the video again and finish the Tasks. If you need help, you can read the Transcript at any time.


Think about the following questions:

  • Have you ever thought of running your own business?
  • What advice would you give young business people?

Follow Joe as he learns what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.


Joe: Golf is a sport played all over the world. But wherever you are, after you’ve hit your shot, there can be a long walk to go and get your ball. But now, there’s a new way to get around the golf course. You just hop on, and I’ll see you down there.

This simple idea, to make a small and lightweight golf cart which will fold and fit in the boot of the car, was invented by a British engineering student. Now, just a few years later, the RolleyGolf is being sold around the world. That student inventor is now an international businessman…

Joe: Hello!

Arnold: Hello!

Joe: …and the winner of several young entrepreneur awards.

So Arnold, how did you come up with the idea?

Arnold: RolleyGolf’s idea came up at university when I was studying design and we took that design to a golf course and discovered there was a niche in the market.

Joe: So you actually sold some before you’d even built them?

Arnold: Yes, we created one RolleyGolf, and on the basis of one RolleyGolf, we built many for clients.

Joe: And do you still play golf?

Arnold: It’s my major passion in life.

Joe: Well, let’s go!

Arnold: Let’s do it.

Joe: Arnold is one of thousands of young people in Britain with ideas for a new business.

One famous businessman who helps young people get started is Sir Richard Branson. He was once in Arnold’s position, facing the same challenges as a young entrepreneur. Now, he’s the head of the massive Virgin group, which includes mobile phone, media and travel companies. They sponsor Virgin Pioneers, which was set up to support young business people.

Joe: Sir Richard, as a businessman, what was it like for you when you started?

Sir Richard: Ah… It’s difficult… You know, 45 years ago when I started off in business, the word entrepreneur didn’t really exist, so for many years all that really mattered was the word survival. And I sort of threw myself in the deep end and had to fight to survive. And I suppose I was lucky to survive, and lucky that Virgin grew into the company it has today.

Joe: Do you think it’s a good time to start a business in Britain?

Sir Richard: I think it’s a great time to start a business anywhere in the world. If, you know, what is a business? A business is just coming up with an idea that’s going to make a positive difference to other people’s lives. If you’ve got an idea like that, you know, just do it.

Other young pioneers gave their advice too.

Entrepreneur 1: My top tips for young entrepreneurs all over the world are to believe in yourself, be passionate about your idea, if you have a dream, you have to do everything in your power to make that happen.

Entrepreneur 2: Surround yourself with people that can help lift you and your business higher.

Entrepreneur 3: Meet as many people as you can. Talk to as many people as you can.

Entrepreneur 4: Just get started as soon as possible. Start small, but do get started.

Joe: Arnold wanted to produce his golf cart in Britain. This was difficult, because a lot of companies these days manufacture their products in East Asia, especially China. Arnold's company now make around 50 of his products every single month, and many of the parts are handmade in this small workshop in South London.

Can I come in?

Michael Winch cuts and shapes many of the parts for the cart in his workshop.

Michael: What we do is we receive a piece of raw material and machine it and we make it into something which is more valuable than the original piece of material.

Joe: So it sounds like a lot of hard work, but do you enjoy it?

Michael: It’s great fun, yeah.

Joe: Arnold’s invention is now legal on the roads in Britain, so I’m sure he won’t mind if I borrow one to get home. See ya!

Task 1

Watch Joe's documentary about young business people. Put the interviews in the correct order.


Task 2

Watch the video again. Complete the paragraph about Arnold du Toit and RolleyGolf with the correct words.


Task 3

Choose the correct tense, present or past, to complete the passive sentences from the video.


Task 4

Can you remember the passive sentences from Task 3? Type in the correct forms of the verbs in (brackets).


Language level

Average: 4.1 (8 votes)
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Submitted by nikoslado on Thu, 15/09/2022 - 14:11


Dear Team,
could you give me some advice, please?
''Entrepreneur 2: Surround yourself with people that can help lift you and your business higher.''
Is there any type of inversion between the verb ''lift'' and the subjects ''you and your bussiness'', so he could also say 1)''...people that can help you and your bussiness lift'', or 2)''people that can help and lift you and your business''
Ι'm always a bit confused-maybe because of my native language-with this type of syntax: ''can help+(transitive)verb+object'', instead of ''can help+ object+( transitive)verb''. I wish I could find more stuff or theory with related examples.
Thanks a lot for your priceless help,

Hi Nikos,

No, there's no inversion here, actually. "You and your business" is the object of "lift" rather than the subject. "Help lift" is a possible verb pattern (with the same meaning as "help to lift"). 

It's also possible to say something similar with the second syntax pattern that you mentioned --> Surround yourself with people that can help you and your business (to) lift higher.


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by nikoslado on Sat, 28/09/2019 - 17:47

Dear Team, please, could you explain to me- or suggest some specific grammar- why in the sentences1-2-4-5 the 3rd and 4th Tasks [''is played''-''is invented''-''is being sold'' etc.] we must use a simple passive voice form, but in the sentence 3 we use a continuous form? I don't feel any difference in the meaning. All my thanks
Profile picture for user Kirk Moore

Submitted by Kirk Moore on Sun, 29/09/2019 - 10:52

In reply to by nikoslado


Hello nikoslado

I'd say that Joe used the continuous form here to show that this is something new or developing, which is one meaning that the continuous aspect commonly expresses. It would also be correct to use a simple form here, but the continuous one adds another layer of meaning.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by frontierpost on Sun, 12/05/2019 - 21:25

This is such a good article.
Profile picture for user Kostya B

Submitted by Kostya B on Fri, 29/06/2018 - 19:59

I would give some advices to young business people which starting their own, in the first- do not be greedy; to be fair and do not dance to someone else's tune and of course another trivial thing it is do not be lazy.