Multi-award-winning entrepreneur, Zoe Jackson MBE set up the Living the Dream Performing Arts Company at the age of 16 in 2006 to inspire young people and to subsidise her own performing arts education.
Zoe started Living the Dream with a few hundred pounds of sponsorship from family and friends and went on to attract local arts funding to put on shows featuring young people whilst she was still at school. She managed Living the Dream whilst studying for a full-time BA Honours degree in Dance and Performing Arts at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts.
Since graduating, Zoe has grown Living the Dream to include a school of performing arts, a professional dance company, a talent agency and a charity, the Dream Foundation.
Zoe is passionate about championing young talent, creating access to arts education, entertaining audiences and encouraging young people to live their dreams.
Her strength as a leader and as a role model is in her passion for inspiring and empowering people and has led her to be a leading figure in performing arts in the UK.
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Zoe Jackson has won a number of awards for her social entrepreneurism across the arts and business.
In June 2015, Zoe was honoured in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List with an award of the Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for services to young entrepreneurs and the performing arts.
In 2015 Zoe also received the first ‘Queen’s Young Leaders Award’, which recognised 60 young people across the Commonwealth who were making a difference in their communities.
Zoe has received several other awards including the Women of the Future in the Arts, Media and Culture award with Shell, was listed in Elle Magazine’s “Top 100 Inspiring Women” alongside Michelle Obama and Beyoncé and she won the Creative Industries Entrepreneur of the Year with the Great British Entrepreneurs.
frequently featured on television, radio and the news in arts and
entertainment, business and education.
Sir Richard Branson has supported and endorsed Zoe after she was selected to speak with him on behalf of young entrepreneurs in the UK. Zoe worked with Sir Richard and Virgin to campaign for the
Government’s Start Up Loans scheme and was instrumental in influencing Government policy.
Zoe is regularly featured in local and national media with her significant awards, achievements and captivating story. She has been called on by Government, press and the education sector to speak on behalf of young people, entrepreneurs and discuss education, entertainment and the arts including BBC, CNBC, Sky, ITV and several radio stations.
Zoe was selected to be on the Great British Menu on BBC2 as she received an award from The Queen and this series celebrated those honoured by Her Majesty to celebrate her birthday.
In 2015, Zoe Jackson won the first Queen’s Young Leaders award which recognized 60 young people across the Commonwealth transforming the lives of others in their local communities.
TV Documentary Feature
Zoe has filmed for a new series called ‘Youngtrapreneurs’ with NXG Media which follows the lives of 6 young entrepreneurs.
Watch the Story of Living the Dream
Find out more about Zoe Jackson’s journey setting up Living the Dream from age 16.
Highlights of Press
Zoe Jackson MBE and Living the Dream have been featured in The Independent on Sunday, The Sunday Times, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The Evening Standard, Forbes Magazine, The Observer, The Metro, Elle Magazine, Cosmopolitan Magazine and The Huffington Post.
Zoe Jackson Listed in ‘Elle Magazine’s
Zoe Jackson appears on Elle magazine’s ‘Top 100 inspiring women’ list – alongside Michelle Obama, Victoria Beckham, Oprah Winfrey, Adele and JK Rowling. Other names featured include Annie Lennox, Kelly Holmes, Dolly Parton, Hillary Clinton and Angelina Jolie.
Fearlessness, Passion And Generosity: A Recipe For The ‘Dream’ Startup
Huffington Post Interview
Young Entrepreneur of The Week: Zoe Jackson, Performing Arts CompanyFounder and Richard Branson’s Inspiration
Nationwide Campaign for BTEC
In 2016 Zoe Jackson MBE became an ambassador for the BTEC campaign ‘I Choose BTEC’ with Pearson alongside Peter Jones CBE and was featured in a highly successful advertising campaign on London buses and in schools and colleges throughout the UK.
“Zoe is an example of a truly successful female entrepreneur to whom I to give my full support and endorsement. Zoe, like me, started her business age 16 and has impressed me with her commitment to doing good and making a difference, whilst building Living the Dream. Her contribution to young entrepreneurs has been outstanding. Zoe became involved with my Control Shift campaign and helped enormously in persuading the Government to launch the Start Up Loans scheme. I am proud she acts as an ambassador for Virgin Media Pioneers to inspire young entrepreneurs and she recently helped me to launch Virgin Start Up. I have been impressed by her professionalism and her vision for the future of young people. We need more to see more young people like Zoe becoming successful entrepreneurs.” Sir Richard Branson,Virgin
“Vodafone involved Zoe Jackson in a key part of our on-going leadership development programme with our senior leaders. Zoe Jackson told her inspirational background story to over 1000 global leaders at Vodafone over a five-year period.
The aim was for the participants to widen their aspirations and entrepreneurial thinking. Zoe is a pleasure to work with, extremely professional and fun, and she delivered dance teambuilding workshops which were fun, vibrant and energetic. The sessions have made a significant impact on all of our participants and I am very strongly recommending Zoe Jackson to work with us on future projects like this.”Debi Basu, The Vodafone Way Programme Leader
“As a former Education Minister, I believe that Zoe Jackson has demonstrated with Living the Dream more than any I have seen the capacity of young people to demonstrate talent, business acumen and showcase their abilities to a wide audience.
Zoe Jackson MBE is one of the most talented and level headed young people I have ever known. She has good business strengths, is hardworking and most importantly has a vision for young people that is first class. The production is entirely by young people, for young people, and is a professional product of the highest quality.” The Rt Hon Baroness Ashton (former leader of the EU), Patron of Living the Dream
“Zoe came to visit the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy students as a guest speaker. She was an inspiration to our students, her hard work and determination shone through her honest and heart-warming story. Zoe’s passion to succeed and make a difference is her star quality and she is a true self-made entrepreneur. It was a pleasure to meet Zoe and I look forward to working with her again and hopefully having her back to inspire more students.” Kate Angel, Business Enterprise Manager – The Peter Jones Enterprise Academy