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Jazz Shapers

Shaper: Bejay Mulenga

Show aired on 8th December 2018

Transcript

Elliot Moss
Welcome to the Jazz Shapers podcast from Mishcon de Reya. What you are about to hear was originally broadcast on Jazz FM however music has been cut or shortened due to rights issues.

Welcome to Jazz Shapers, where the auteurs of the business world join the Shapers of Jazz, Soul and Blues. I am Elliot Moss. Our guest today is award winning entrepreneur and super young too, his name is Bejay Mulenga, Founder and CEO of Supa Network. Age fourteen, bored of the way business studies was taught, Bejay convinced his Head Teacher to allow him and a few friends to run his school’s first tuck shop. They made £15,000 in an academic year and have since gone on to franchise out the mould to over a hundred schools and five thousand students studying for their GCSE Business Studies. Aged eighteen, Bejay created Supa Academy, an incubator education and training platform for young entrepreneurs of his generation, and now is part of the whole Supa Network, a creative network connecting companies and brands with young, ambitious talent. Clients and corporate backers of Supa Academy have included Facebook, Barclays and Pepsi Max to name just a few. Hello.

Bejay Mulenga
Hello. Thank you for having me Elliot.

Elliot Moss
It’s an absolute pleasure. Why did you think you wanted to fix something at age thirteen? I think at that point it was a, was it the first thing you did, something to do with doing up a, yeah what was it, doing up a little club?

Bejay Mulenga
Yeah, so I was part of a community centre which had programmes going on every day that young people in any area could attend and it was getting run down because it was built in the seventies and by the time we were approaching 2008, 2007, showing my age here, we, the young teenagers who were living there, we…

Elliot Moss
Where was this? Whereabouts?

Bejay Mulenga
…this was Brick Lane. Hanbury Street to be precise. Brady Arts Centre was the name of the centre. We found that a lot of times, sometimes the Mac were too old or the rooms, the rehearsal rooms weren’t that great but for us it was a playground, we were able to make things and just learn, so you don’t know no better at that age and the tutors told us that there was a pot of funding available for them to kind of order some new stock and also get some of the places like renewed and revamped, and on a third level get some funding for extracurricular to attend in the evenings. Me and my friend, Christian, helped write a pitch from a youth focus and got sent to the local mayor and we won the bid and that was like quite a monumental moment for me and Christian who was, we learnt anything you put your mind to, it can happen, even if it looks a bit far fetched at the start.

Elliot Moss
It’s very young though. I guess my question is…

Bejay Mulenga
It’s the reason they told us about it is because the months before we had organised a talent show, so there was a hall that they had that sat 200 people, 200 to 300 people, and we did our first one 200, the next one was 300. So, doing that made that they had kind of trust that we were doing good things and we knew how to kind of engage with other young people locally.

Elliot Moss
But I’m sure that’s true. I guess my question is, and I’ve got kids of fourteen, twelve, eleven, six and loads of others too. No, just those four I think. As far as I know. My thing is, at that age though, to want to do stuff.

Bejay Mulenga
Yeah.

Elliot Moss
What do you think that was about? Where in your, as you were growing up, did you go ‘You know what, life’s about getting on and doing things’. Where do you think that came from?

Bejay Mulenga
To be honest with you Elliot, I think for me at the time we weren’t thinking about it as seriously, it’s only in hindsight that you look and you are like ‘whoa’ where did you get the tenacity and the balls to do something like that. For us, me and the friends that I was growing up with, because we were all entrepreneurial, all creative and everyone doing other things now, a lot of us, we had an idea and if you give us an inch to make it happen, we go for it because you come from neighbourhoods where you don’t normally get a shot, or you don’t normally get options to do something so when there is a facility that’s in your local neighbourhood and they say ‘Guys, you guys are doing well, you are performing well, you are coming in every week and you are doing great. Come to us with ideas of what you want to do’. You don’t tell me that two times. I will come to you with ideas. I will sit there and mind map and come and I may be like that at school as well, I was like anytime you get given an opportunity to do something that you really like, if the teacher says ‘Right guys, we’re going to have a drawing hour or we are going to do some sport, I want you guys to come up with a new game, my nature, how I am, I was always someone who I love a challenge, I love being told to play around, I was never really good a building Lego, like I can’t really build Lego event to today but I loved at least the attempt of trying to do something when someone gives me a challenge. So, the Youth Club telling us, ‘Right, you guys come here every week, we’ve got some more additional funding, there’s opportunities for us to do stuff, like all the tutors want to hear your ideas of what you’d like to do’, you know, and we were like yeah, cool, okay let’s make some merch, let’s… and that kind of open conversation I think helps a young person really build momentum and I’ve met a lot of young people who also experienced that. There’s also a lot of young people who haven’t experienced that but I must say, those of us who have had supportive tutors, parents, local youth club teachers who are openly asking you to contribute your ideas from an early age, it starts to build a habit of ideation, consultancy and also creativity at its finest because you are kind of looking at it from a blank place and the world hasn’t beaten you up and given you all the constraints of what you can and can’t do. You are kind of sat there thinking ‘Right, I’ve got a 300 capacity venue there, we’ve got music, fashion and an art class that happens every day, I know five of my friends are really talented, what can we do?’ You know?

Elliot Moss
The first big thing you did I mean beyond that which is obviously the first sort of unofficial big thing, but the first official big thing you did was this creating a tuck shop and not just doing a one-off tuck shop at a school but actually creating a model which many, many, many other schools could then take on. This is now your, all of age of fourteen, tell me a little bit about what you did and what impact it’s had?

Bejay Mulenga
Sure. So, Supa Tuck was one of my first babies. To be honest, before we did Supa Tuck I was planning on doing a clothing line, I did months and months of research, we were going to call it Supa Nova, I worked super hard on it and we never really got the funding I needed to do it because as a thirteen/fourteen year old I don’t know where to go and get funding, I had a mentor who told me he’d give me £100 to get my first order in but for me that wasn’t enough because I wanted to do some special screen prints and do a launch event then I was always frustrated at the fact that I wasn’t eighteen yet so I couldn’t put a party on yet, so I decided to come up with a way to earn money at school rather than in the weekends because, again, you couldn’t have a market stall yet, at sixteen. All of these challenges but I was quite inspired by, I had always watched Dragons’ Den and The Apprentice and watched the stories of people after they finish the show, so we watched so many people who kind of come up with products and they’d come back and Peter Jones and James Khan, Duncan Bannatyne and Theo Paphitis would go back and check up their investments and see how it developed and grew and I always knew I wanted to do something where we were selling every day and getting live customer feedback. I didn’t label it like that but that’s the sense I knew I had inside me. Like most schools in the UK, post-Jamie Oliver’s 2007 revolution of food, a lot of schools stopped selling snacks at lunchtime so I was one of the first kind of generations where there’s a lot of students who are familiar with going to school and having the older guys in Year 11 or Year 10, if you are in Year 7, selling foods out their backpack. For me, that’s a black market because if the student gets caught the teachers confiscate it and they might even get in trouble and I always thought growing up in Year 7, Year 8, Year 9 and I got to Year 10, age fourteen, I was tempted to go into that market because I know that’s a good way to a) bring product to market every day, sell, make some margin and learn something quite fun but I didn’t want to have the risk of investing in tonnes of food and loads of backpacks and then getting it all confiscated, that’s just a high risk, high reward game. So, I went to the school teacher and told her an idea to open a school shop for my students. She said ‘No’ flat out because, you know, it’s quite crazy for a student to come and tell you they are going to do that and then I went back to her, spoke to her two or three more times and I started to put into practice what I was learning in Business Studies. I told her about the black market that we had, I told her about seasonality of product that I could learn to sell, I told her about the business class I was sitting in at the time and the fact that we hadn’t had an enterprise programme to teach us anything. There was a few programmes being taught in school but none of them were with a bit of a schedule or bit of, it was kind of too open, so a lot of students always kind of reverted to selling photo albums and memorabilia that people don’t really get on with anything quite massive and once I started talking that language, she started to take me a lot more seriously, she brought me into a senior leadership meeting and at the time I didn’t understand the significance but to be a student at school, aged fourteen and to be in a meeting after school with the two existing Head Teachers and all the Heads of Years, and to pitch your idea, that was very, very powerful. But I was just going with the flow at the time.

Elliot Moss
You know, it’s funny, I’m sure I’m not the only one thinking this, you’ve made me completely nervous and you’ve taken me back to school and I’m thinking that would be very, very scary. Let me ask you a quick question before we go into some advice from one of our partners at Mishcon. How did you get through that? What was the secret of your success at that moment if you can just capture it in a nutshell? How did you pull it off?

Bejay Mulenga
I was doing Drama Studies at the time so I looked at it as a drama performance. What is it you are selling? What is it you want to do? And also English at the time we were learning about PEE which is Point, Evidence and Explanation so I went into my presentation and said look, this is the problem that we have at school, this is the opportunity of upscaling young students in class and this is what I propose we do. And it was just that simple as a pitch.

Elliot Moss
And that, Ladies and Gentleman, is how you make a new business happen. Point, Evidence, Explanation. Thank you very much. From the mouths of babes. Much more coming up from Bejay Mulenga. See you in a couple of minutes but first we are going to hear, as I promised just a moment ago, from one of our partners at Mishcon de Reya, some advice, I hope, maybe as pointy as that maybe not, for your business.

Bejay Mulenga is my Business Shaper today though, Founder of the Supa Network, Founder of Supa Tuck, Founder and fixer of a place for young people to be back in the day – ten whole years ago, a decade Bejay has passed since your first foray into doing stuff. So, Supa Tuck is created, you’ve pitched perfectly, you’ve done it, you’ve nailed it, you make I think £15,000 in the first year. You then export that and that becomes the model for other schools. Tell me about then further education because I think at this point you must be going ‘I could just go and do businesses, what’s the point of studying more’ but you did attempt University, you signed up for it, you finished and I read here, it says here, I think it’s on your LinkedIn profile, ‘Did a term. Hated it. That’s all’.

Bejay Mulenga
That’s all. Full stop.

Elliot Moss
So, from there you went ‘Alright, that’s not for me’. What did you do?

Bejay Mulenga
I was the first year where, or the second year, where we had to pay £9,000 a year and I had always been fascinated about University, I always thought I was going to go to University, I wanted to do an MBA, I left GCSEs with four A* and 6 A’s so I wasn’t like a shy student, I was definitely smart at times in the courses I was doing, and the big thing for me was the understanding that I now had a business that we were operating but that was working with a hundred schools, I had staff working with me, we had an office in Brick Lane and I would leave work to go to sit in a class to be lectured by someone who hadn’t been in business for twenty years. That didn’t make sense to me. So, there was no dynamism in the course I was doing. None of the top Russell Group Universities teach Business as a BA at the time, I don’t know what the curriculum is like now, so you are not going there to study it and I was like ‘Oh there’s a reason that doesn’t happen’. Everything that they taught was economics and management and I just wanted to do business every day so I took the big decision to walk away from the course and focus on the business and there was a very fun year of learning a lot, a lot and we chopped and changed and did lots of different enterprises so whilst a lot of my student friends were at University for those three years, in those three years I set up the UK first bottle market, I built a music business, one of our clients was Simon Cowell’s record label and we worked with XFactor contestants, I had managed an artist and did a start up show at a jazz café, we set up a consultancy for an investment firm, so my degree was kind of designed by myself and I am definitely a fan of education because I was only able to do all of those things by attending conferences, reading books, reading articles, reading journals, meeting others who had been successful in different fields and getting varied perspectives but the key in all of that was a big curiosity in continuous learning. I think my infatuation with further education, even though I stepped away, I have now been brought back to kind of look at the post-eighteen education space and how we self-teach ourselves because that’s been a big, big, big factor in my development as an entrepreneur and as a thinker.

Elliot Moss
Well, I think it strikes me now, you think about the businesses you are running now, the Supa Network which is overseas, you know sits over your Supa Black Book business, your Supa Campus business, your Supa Coaching business, your Supa Label business, your Supa Talent business. I mean, all of it is about, as you said, it’s about harnessing and helping young people but also being very commercial?

Bejay Mulenga
Yes.

Elliot Moss
And this is a good thing and they need help and what you’ve done it sounds like you’ve taken the little snippets of the things that worked for you and you’ve really tried to scale that and make it possible. What’s the biggest challenge right now for you?

Bejay Mulenga
I suppose the biggest challenge for me right now is and as most entrepreneurs is just to be later focused on what we are doing because we always come up with a lot of new and exciting products and new people come up that you want to invest in but sometimes you’ve got to go through a season of just build and the season I am in we were flat out working Supa every day, man, and taking time off when we need to take that time off but not working on three or four different brands as I have in the past, I’ve just got one thing I am doing and trying to do it at the best capacity I can.

Elliot Moss
So, just, let’s just get clear, all these, you’ve worked with lots of different organisations, the UN, bit of Barclays, bit if Velos Partners, I mean lists that people twenty years older than you would go ‘Oh that’s pretty impressive’ and I know you’ve dipped in and seen stuff. You’ve got an extraordinary amount of experience, you’ve now created this network, tell me a little bit about the biggest part of the Supa Network, where you spend most of your time because as you said you need to focus. In the ideal world, in Bejay’s heavenly world, what’s Bejay doing versus what you are kind of doing now?

Bejay Mulenga
Look, ideal world is what we are doing now, ideal world is making sure that the business is efficient, the staff that we’ve got on have got everything they need to kind of execute on what we’ve committed to clients and…

Elliot Moss
Just tell me a little bit about the clients, you are working with big brands aren’t you?

Bejay Mulenga
Yeah we work with big brands, and small brands.

Elliot Moss
Give us a couple of names that you are?

Bejay Mulenga
So, some stuff’s on NDA so we can’t announce until they get announced but the stuff that I can announce is working with Apple, so we are curating a lot of entrepreneurial experiences for creative entrepreneurs in the UK so we’ve got talks and masterclasses and workshops happening and then we are also working on Facebook and delivering a curriculum that they have designed over the last year to 5,000 students in England over the next year. So, that’s examples of work that we do – so we do a lot of coaching, a lot of programmes – we are also starting to work with a lot of clients where we look at their employer branding so, how they are perceived because a lot of the work that happens with diversity and inclusion happens internally with staff but there’s also diversity and kind of application that needs to happen so we are starting to role out services that help companies attract better talent.

Elliot Moss
Are you doing that a lot, on the diversity and inclusion side? I mean, are you finding that you are being tapped up more and more for…?

Bejay Mulenga
Yeah, for sure, I think everything is interlinked. Our specialism is in working to help people to become more awesome along with doing that whether it is in a shape of a half day or a one day or a week span or a year programme, I think that’s the kind of barometer to success. Like, how was the person when they came and met or interacted with myself or a coach on my team or one of my kind of extended networks and what journey had they been on? That really is what’s most important to us from a social impact perspective and that’s also important commercially because if you keep finding awesome people and keep supporting their development, you can do business with them, you can get them working with some really exciting brands around the world and that’s really what we are about.

Elliot Moss
This programme started seven years ago and at that point obviously the whole entrepreneurial thing was happening in the UK a lot more and people tapped into it and we indeed created this programme for that very reason. It’s coincided with you and your focus on entrepreneurism and that’s not a coincidence. The Supa Campus part of the business, this is the twelve week business accelerator stuff, I am imagining again you are seeing more demand for this from big corporates, they are saying ‘we’ve got ideas but we are a bit stuck, we’ve got a big structure, help inject some energy into this’.

Bejay Mulenga
Yeah.

Elliot Moss
What does that look like? What have you learnt and how many years have you been doing this for? That’s a few years, this particular thing?

Bejay Mulenga
So, we’ve been testing different models when working with entrepreneurs for the last couple of years away from the Supa Tuck stuff so we did a series of pop-up shops with River Island and Barclays and that was looking at like very, very early entrepreneurial start-ups and how they can support them and what energy they can bring into their organisation and then we started doing a lot more consultancy with other accelerators across last year and this year we open up our first own created accelerator.

Elliot Moss
Was that the one with the Office Group?

Bejay Mulenga
The impartial with the Office Group.

Elliot Moss
Charlie Green’s been on the programme obviously and we both know him well.

Bejay Mulenga
Yeah, which was a good testing bed for us, a kind of understanding and see what is the right way to support businesses as they are developing but also on the flip side with corporates, there’s a lot of trying to speak to them from the insurance perspective, banking perspective, from a PR, an accountancy and legal perspective so, I think there’s a symbiotic relationship that can develop with big corporates and young enterprises that are making noise in industry. I think one of our businesses was featured in the Daily Telegraph this week, another one of our businesses is currently curating all the music across a few cruises happening around the world so, some businesses are doing really, really exciting things and we are starting to see the fruits of our kind of coaching and mentoring come to life but also they are their own hard work.

Elliot Moss
Stay with me for my final chat with Bejay, plus we will be playing a track from Mr George Benson. That’s in just a moment.

That was George Benson with The World Is A Ghetto. I saw him live in the summer, he was pretty fantastic and out of this world, actually. Bejay Mulenga is my Business Shaper just for a few more minutes. 2016, you became quote, unquote, the youngest person to receive the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion and based on just some of the things we’ve touched on, I am not surprised. You are wise for your years and it seems to me like you are on a bit of a social mission as well as a commercial mission. What does success look like for you in the next three to five years? How are you going to be shaping what you are doing?

Bejay Mulenga
So, I think success for me looks like happiness in day-to-day activity of what we are pushing so, I have projects where I have walked away from, I walked away from a marketing business earlier this year. So, if there’s no passion there really for me, you know money only takes you so far, you need to be excited about the work you are doing. Really, really excited. Yes, times get hard but if you can’t say that to yourself, you know, most days of the week because that most days of the week turns into most days of the month and that turns into most months of the year. I understand, you know, a notion of rolling up your sleeves which I always do but you need to be really in sync with the purpose of why you are doing it because it’s going to get tough, business is always tough.

Elliot Moss
So, when it gets tough Bejay, who do you go to? Who gives you great advice?

Bejay Mulenga
When business is tough, you know, I think what’s changed about the world now is, we have so many resources on our phone, you can go on Instagram and follow many entrepreneurial influencers, you can go on Google and watch documentaries, you can listen to podcasts and find out how people built stuff, you can go and find specialist courses on project management, on HR, you can also call advisers online and meet people so, for me I do all the above. So, if I have a HR issue, I look at a few things, I pick what I want to do as option A and option B and I test and then we quickly come up with solutions and I do that across all departments in my business, even when I am looking at my own leadership team or my own style.

Elliot Moss
And let me ask you a question, another one, then in terms of, and I think that’s right, basically you are saying there’s no excuses, there’s stuff out there, get self-sufficient, get on with it and if you need the human thing as well, you’ve got it but you are right and that wasn’t the case fifteen, even five years ago…

Bejay Mulenga
I know. So, yeah.

Elliot Moss
…it’s changed dramatically. What about the most common bit of advice you end up giving? So, someone comes along, they are eighteen/nineteen, they look at Bejay and they go ‘Wow, he’s a god. He’s done stuff, he’s already on it, he understands, he learns, he’s curious’.

Bejay Mulenga
Yeah.

Elliot Moss
What is the thing that you need to say to people most often? What do you hear yourself saying to young entrepreneurs?

Bejay Mulenga
I always say to people trust your gut. Trust your gut because that’s where your purpose is and where you are actually, that’s telling you what you are inspired by because you are just going to keep getting the same feeling to do the same, those urges are going to keep coming whenever you are trying to doubt yourself or trying to do something, you are ‘Ooh, I know the market needs this but I don’t know how to tackle it’, just keep chipping at it and then part two of that same comment is patience, it’s all a process – Patience. A lot of people want to start something and, you know, make ten million or a hundred million tomorrow. That’s not how it works. You know, you might have to, for six months, have a side job that gets you a thousand pounds a month and allows you to move around London but it means that you are out of action three days a week from 9.00 to 6.00 but those two days you have off, and also those three days in the evening you are able to go super hard at that enterprise you want to build and you can focus on revenue generation or getting a product to level it needs to be at so they can go to market and as money starts coming in, you start making some profits you can build and that can take a week, one month, but of course it takes six months or take a year so don’t be afraid to be patient, keep building up and as you are building up you will be able to access and manage, you know, sustained cashflow to put yourself on a bit of a salary and then get yourself some assistance and also you can delegate out stuff that before people knew you to have teams of ten or twenty, you can now have a copywriter who is based in Bristol and have a web developer who is based in Paris or based in Manchester working with you. Even for myself, when I was doing Supa Tuck and I was going through college, I worked in retail, I worked in Selfridges and I worked for other retailers to support myself to make sure that the money the business was making we were putting it back in and enabling us to grow but I wasn’t going without eating, and luckily the jobs I was doing was more on the weekend so I knew that I kept my weekends to work, you can have the evenings to kind of hang out with people, two or three times a month but most weekends I am working from the crack of dawn until the evening and then during the week when I wasn’t at college, because you don’t have to be always there 9.00 to 6.00, it meant I could talk and communicate with schools during their prime business hours. So, try to find a side gig that works for the industry you are going into. It wouldn’t make sense for you to have a job or every Monday to Friday full-time and your clients are not available when you want to talk to them at 6.00pm but if that’s what you need to do to transition then that’s the advice I give to all entrepreneurs because it is tough and it’s, you know, we’ve got rent and we’ve got commitments, we’ve got family, there’s a lot of things that people need to pay for and sometimes I will meet entrepreneurs who sometimes just forget to make sure that they are earning something every month or not humble enough to just have a little side gig. You don’t need to shout it to the world but just have something because that will breed confidence and people will see you relax when you are entering a deal.

Elliot Moss
Wow. There you go. If you were taking notes that would have been a good idea because you just kind of mapped out exactly what I think people need to think about as they go forward. Thank you, Bejay. I have enjoyed it. I have enjoyed listening to you and you are wise, a wise man already and really good luck with your hundred million because obviously you wouldn’t say no if that happened to happen in the next five/ten years would you?

Bejay Mulenga
I would never say no.

Elliot Moss
I didn’t think you would. Just before I let you go, what’s your song choice and why have you chosen it?

Bejay Mulenga
I sent two songs didn’t I? Which songs are we?

Elliot Moss
You can only have one, Bejay.

Bejay Mulenga
Let’s go for the Quincy Jones option?

Elliot Moss
Is that the one you want? And why would you like to go for Quincy Jones? And which one is it?

Bejay Mulenga
I’m a Hip Hop Head and that’s what I grew up on, and then grime music in UK. I know a lot of Hip Hop has jazz references, especially from Kanye and Drake times of production from 1990 to like maybe late 2010.

Elliot Moss
This is my period.

Bejay Mulenga
Your period.

Elliot Moss
Yes.

Bejay Mulenga
So, growing up, you know, you might listen to a song and you don’t even know where it’s really come from so the song I have chosen today is Quincy Jones, Soul Bossa Nova, it’s been referenced in a few Hip Hop tracks over the years and I have always loved going back and finding the original so without further ado, this is Quincy Jones, Soul Bossa Nova.

Elliot Moss
That was Quincy Jones with Soul Bossa Nova, the song choice of my Business Shaper today, Bejay Mulenga. What a super impressive young guy. Happiness he said, really important, got to love what you do. Test stuff. If you don’t know if it is going to work, test A and test B and see what happens. And trusting your gut and patience, the two things when I asked him what entrepreneurial advice he gives to people – those are the two things that come up the most. Trust your gut, go with it and don’t expect the big money to come really quickly, it just doesn’t. That’s it from Jazz Shapers, have a fantastic weekend.

We hope you enjoyed that edition of Jazz Shapers. You will find hundreds more guests available for you to listen to in our archive. To find out more, just search Jazz Shapers and iTunes or your favourite podcast platform or head over to mishcon.com/jazzshapers.

Bejay Mulenga recently won an award from Her Majesty the Queen for Enterprise Promotion. Aged 23, he became the youngest person to do so.

He founded Supa Tuck when he was 14, a franchise of student-run tuck shops in schools, teaching students how to run and operate their own tuck shops while studying for their GCSE Business studies as a form of work-based training.

Over four years, Supa Tuck had grown to over 100 schools and 5,000 students. Bejay has gone on to consult and work for brands such as the United Nations, Uber, Barclays, Facebook, River Island and Pepsi Max via his creative network – Supa Network – which bridges the gap between talented youth and corporates and delivers creative services.

His recent business Filli Studios is a fast-growing Influencer Advertising Agency working with Kia Motors, Sony, Coca-Cola and Virgin on social marketing campaigns.

Follow Bejay on Twitter @BejayMulenga.

Interview Highlights

Anything you put your mind to can happen, even if it looks a bit far-fetched at the start.

You don’t tell me to come to you with ideas two times. I will come to you with ideas. I will sit there and mind map.

Having supportive tutors, parents and local youth club teachers who ask you to contribute your ideas from an early age builds a habit of ideation, consultancy and creativity. Then the world hasn’t beaten you up and given you all the constraints of what you can and can’t do.

I was frustrated that I wasn’t 18 yet and couldn’t put a party on, so I decided to come up with a way to earn money at school rather than during the weekends.

I didn’t understand the significance at the time, but to be a school student in a meeting after school with the two existing Head Teachers and all the Heads of Years, and to pitch your idea – that was very, very powerful.

In English we were learning about Point, Evidence and Explanation so I went into my presentation and said: this is the problem that we have at school, this is the opportunity and this is what I propose we do. The pitch was that simple.

I have a big curiosity for continuous learning; an infatuation with further education.

We have so many resources: you can go on Instagram and follow entrepreneurial influencers; you can go on Google and watch documentaries; you can listen to podcasts and find out how people built stuff; you can go and find specialist courses on project management, on HR; you can also call advisers online and meet people. I do it all.

I walked away from a marketing business earlier this year. If there’s no passion, money only takes you so far. You need to be excited about the work you are doing. Really, really excited.

Trust your gut. That’s where your purpose is.

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Jazz Shapers - 2 days ago

Shaper: Dame Rosemary Squire OBE

Dame Rosemary Squire OBE is one of the most prominent women in British theatre of the modern era. Since she co-founded the Ambassador Theatre Group in 1992, it has gone onto become the world’s number one live-theatre company.  In 2016, Squire stepped down from her post as CEO to move into a new creative phase.  [...]

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Jazz Shapers - 1 week ago