Shaper: Bejay Mulenga
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.
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.