Under his stewardship, Hull's Global Entrepreneurship Week has blossomed. Charles Cracknell tells Katie Knass why the young people taking part make it so worthwhile
He is the charismatic leader of one of the city's most successful enterprise weeks. Charles Cracknell, employment and youth enterprise manager for Hull City Training embodies the city's Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW).
Passionate and determined to make a difference, it is the work put in by Charles and his team that ensures Hull's GEW is one of the best in the country.
The week has been running for nine years, each time under the stewardship of Mr Cracknell.
And from small acorns, large oak trees have blossomed.
In the first year there was just one event.
GEW 2012 saw 19 structured events, with many more going on around the city, and an estimated 3,000 youngsters taking part.
Mr Cracknell says: "We had to find something to promote what we were trying to achieve in Hull. And it grew and grew.
"We were getting publicity nationally for the way we were doing it.
"Every year there was something that clicked for us and we said, 'we have to do this again next year'."
The popularity of the growing GEW meant the team had to get more creative with each passing year.
"In a way it's a victim of its success," says Mr Cracknell. "But it is essential we do this. "Hull is a manufacturing entrepreneurial city, but it is important to develop a culture among young people in schools, colleges and on training programmes, so they can not only go on to be entrepreneurs themselves, but also to become enterprising employees.
"That is an essential part of it."
Mr Cracknell says for him, the week itself is enjoyable, but it is the days after when he can sit back and see how all the hard work has had an effect on the young people taking part.
He says: "In some respects, it's not about the week for me. I love the build-up to it. But it is afterwards, when you look back and see the response from the young people.
"You see how it is making a contribution to the city and the future and you see nationally how that is picked up."
Hull's GEW is held up as an example nationwide.
It hosts activities for primary schools, special schools, secondary schools and post-16 participants.
Five main events are held at the University of Hull with day-long activities for hundreds of students.
Activities range from Dragon's Den-style challenges to getting young people to come up with their own business idea and ways to market it.
Primary school pupils have the chance to spend the day as cub reporters as the Mail takes charge, to help produce the journalists of the future.
Mr Cracknell says: "We are very keen to promote this to young people to show this city means business, so I always have that dread at the start of the week.
"By the end of the week when I sit back I'm like 'look at those pictures', 'look at the response', people really did feel good about it."
And while Global Entrepreneurship Week is the showcase week to show how enterprising this city is, work on other entrepreneurial activities goes on throughout the year.
It includes Make £5 Blossom, which is run with primary schools.
They work together with businesses to try to turn a £5 stake into a profit.
"We are always supporting young people with enterprising ideas," says Mr Cracknell.
"We do it through the youth enterprise bank.
"There are other partners also doing activities with young people and developing activities with the business community around entrepreneurship."
So successful is Hull's GEW, it attracts former Apprentice stars Ruth Badger and Claire Young every year. Mr Cracknell says they are impressed with what they see in Hull and with the young people.
He says: "The fact they have been on The Apprentice is in some ways irrelevant.
"It is about how they started when they were young and what they are doing now.
"It's almost as though they are from Hull but just happen to live elsewhere.
"Bringing people who have achieved into the city is just as important as showcasing those from within the city."