9 October 2017
Over 150 Lower Sixth Stoics attended the talk where the 19 year old Ollie Forsyth, the “Dyslexic Entrepreneur” (so dubbed by the Daily Mail), wowed Stoics with his brief but successful career to date. Ollie described how his entrepreneurial flair started from the age of six selling his own parents cups of tea and quickly turned his resourcefulness into a low capital start-up at the age of 13, turning over £13,000 in its first year selling items through an e-commerce site. Reflecting on starting his recently formed business, Ollie guided Stoics from business concept, to raising finance, to how he is now growing one of his businesses; a young entrepreneur networking firm with aspirations of 100,000 members by 2020. The key messages from Ollie to Stoics thinking of starting their own businesses were based around working hard, surrounding yourself with the best people in the industry and being prepared to bounce back when business plans don’t go to plan. Many Stoics seemed to resonate with Ollie’s key messages, especially as they are linked to this some of the School’s themes this year, including independence and resilience. The second speaker of the evening was Sophie Adelman, co-founder of WhiteHat, a Londonbased placement and education provider which delivers apprenticeships to BASF, Google and other companies in the UK. Sophie delivered an engaging talk helping Stoics to understand the changing image of apprenticeships and degree apprenticeships. With companies such as Dyson delivering engineering degree apprenticeships, accredited by Warwick University, in the news this week (not one of Sophie’s clients), apprenticeships are a potential route for some students. Sophie explained how the recent changes in legislation with the ‘apprenticeship levy’ have incentivised employers to invest in apprenticeships and therefore create more opportunities for non-traditional routes to higher education. Although this work-based degree route may not be suitable for all students, it was an outstanding insight into how changes in legislation have helped to create improvements in the UK’s apprenticeship offer, especially at the undergraduate level.
Dr Gordon West, Head of Careers