Youngest Sheffield Chamber president takes office pledging support for youth enterprise

Steve Manley newly-elected president of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce.
Steve Manley newly-elected president of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce.

The newly elected Sheffield Chamber of Commerce President has pledged to encourage youth enterprise during his year of office.

Steve Manley who is the joint MD of Universal Office Products is at 43 the youngest ever chamber president and a former teenage entrepreneur.

He accepted the chains of office from outgoing president John Hayward.

Steve has put in almost a decade of voluntary work with Young Enterprise, a non-profit that specialises in working with schools and colleges to inspire the next generation of young entrepreneurs.

He said: “I became involved with Young Enterprise while a student at Loxley College in 1993/4. I was the MD of our Young Enterprise company, an office supply firm called Paper Chain - it’s how I got into what I’m doing now.

“As a result, I know the importance of championing young entrepreneurs and I’ve volunteered for Young Enterprise for nearly 10 years, giving talks to school and college business studies students about entrepreneurship and what it takes to start up your own business, as well as judging awards and mentoring student businesses.

“I spoke at the National Young Enterprise Awards in London where I won the Alumni of the Year in 2012 and over the years have met a lot of young people from across the region with some great ideas, so it felt like a natural fit for me to choose youth enterprise as a  theme for my chamber presidency.”

Post-college Steve spent eight years at a large office supplies company before the ‘burning desire’ to run his own business took over.

Universal Office Products was established by Steve and Mark Broadbent in Steve’s mum and dad’s spare room in 2002. Today it is the UK’s leading independent, single source office supply specialist.

As part of his focus as president, Steve also wants to see further and better collaboration across the Sheffield City Region.

“I really want to see all the important elements of the city region engaging more, including the chamber, Sheffield City Council and the LEP. Teamwork is just as important on a wider scale as it is in the workplace and on the shop floor. It’s only when we work together as a city region community that we can really get more done.”