Zoe Jackson MBE Profile

  • At age 16, she founded the Living the Dream Performing Arts Company to fund her own dream of studying dance.
  • Over the past decade she's grown her company into a thriving educational center, dance school, talent agency, and foundation for young people, run by young people.
  • Her drive, vibrant personality, and smart networking tactics have raised numerous funds, enabling thousands of disadvantaged youth to discover and develop their own artistic abilities.
  • She's attracted the praise and support of such prominent figures as Sir Richard Branson, James Caan, and Queen Elizabeth II.
  • Multi-award winning entrepreneur Zoe Jackson MBE, is proof that a young person with passion and determination can move mountains. At age 16, she launched a performing arts company for young people run by young people. Since then she’s grown her organization – Living the Dream – into a flourishing dance company, media company, performing arts school, and charity that has enabled thousands of disadvantaged youth to cultivate their talent and make positive contributions to society.

    Zoe had virtually no money nor “connections” when she started her business, but she did have a love of dance, a vibrant personality, and a commitment to get things done. Her ability to bring young people together and her smart networking skills gained her the support and advice of the late genius Alan Rickman, the business saavy James Caan, and the legendary Sir Richard Branson.

    In 2015, she received one of the first ever Queen’s Young Leader Awards and the prestigious MBE award (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles, due to the opportunities and platform she has created for her generation and the next.

    Zoe is passionate about championing young talent, creating affordable access to the arts and empowering young people to live their dreams. Through the arts, she tirelessly campaigns to raise awareness and support for the challenges facing young people, to provide a platform for their voices to be heard and promote the positive contribution they can make.

    • View Extended/Alternate Bio

      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.

      Over the last nine years, Living the Dream has grown to include a school of performing arts, a professional dance company and a charity, the Dream Foundation.

      Zoe is passionate about championing young talent, creating access to the arts, entertaining audiences and inspiring young people to live their dreams. Through the arts and enterprise, she campaigns to raise awareness and support for the challenges facing young people. Through the arts and enterprise, she campaigns to raise awareness and support for the challenges facing young people. Zoe’s strength as a leader and an inspiring role model is in her passion for engaging and empowering young people.

      In June 2015, she was awarded Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE), for services to young entrepreneurs and the performing arts, in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List which was presented to her by Prince William at Windsor Castle in December 2015.

      Last year Zoe also received the first ‘Queen’s Young Leaders Award’ recognising 60 young people across the Commonwealth who are making a difference in their communities which was presented to her by Her Majesty The Queen at Buckingham Palace.

      Zoe has received numerous 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 won the Creative Industries Entrepreneur of the Year with the Great British Entrepreneurs.

      She has received the support and endorsement of Sir Richard Branson who she worked with to campaign for the Start Up Loans scheme, of which she is an ambassador for with James Caan.

      Zoe is in demand as a motivational speaker who has inspired audiences from the education and the corporate world with her story.

    Zoe Jackson MBE Speaking Videos

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    Zoe Jackson MBE's Speech Descriptions

    Zoe Jackson’s vibrant presence and heart-warming story widens audiences’ perspective and creativity. She’s been wildly received by student and senior leadership audiences alike as she shares the powerful advice and principles that got her through the ups and downs of her extraordinary journey from talented teen with a dream to performing arts tycoon who is influencing thousands of young people.

    Zoe speaks about enterprise, arts and education with topics including:

  • The Disruptive Entrepreneur
  • Live Your Dreams
  • Young People are the Future
  • Creativity in a Corporate World
  • How to Stand Out and Get Noticed
  • Tips for Start-up Businesses

  • What People are Saying about Seeing Zoe Speak

    Rating Entries

    “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

    “One of Britain’s brightest young business brains.”
    – The Independent on Sunday

    “In Britain, Jackson has become a poster girl for female entrepreneurship”
    – The Sunday Times Magazine

    “Zoe came to visit the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy students as a guest speaker. She shared her experiences about how she set up Living the Dream, her ups and downs and how she is moving the company forward. 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, Peter Jones Enterprise Academy, Solihull

    “Zoe Jackson comes across with her vibrant personality, entrepreneurial spirit and determination to succeed. Zoe has a strong commitment to inspiring and developing young people. She is a tremendous role model and a highly engaging motivational speaker. She gave an extremely well received speech to parents and students at our Sixth Form presentation evening this year. If you have the opportunity to have Zoe speak to any group of young people about her experiences and the attributes needed to be successful in life, I would strongly recommend you take it.”
    – Paul de Kort, Head of Sixth Form, Beaumont School

    “Vodafone has involved Living the Dream in an on-going leadership development programme with our senior leaders. Zoe Jackson designed a key part of the programme to include Living the Dream performing and entertaining the participants and delivering a practical street dance session, teaching all participants a dance routine. The sessions culminate in Zoe Jackson telling the inspirational background story of how she established Living the Dream at the age of sixteen. The aim of this has been for the participants to widen aspirations and entrepreneurial thinking. Zoe and Living the Dream are a pleasure to work with, they are extremely professional and fun, and the workshop leaders are vibrant and energetic. The sessions have made a significant impact on all of our participants, who have responded extremely positively about their experience.”
    – Debi Basu, The Vodafone Way Programme Leader

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