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Graduates share their start up stories to inspire a new generation of Entrepreneurs

Graduates share their start up stories to inspire a new generation of Entrepreneurs

Interview with Young Entrepreneur and Author of ‘Who said you can’t be young and successful?’ Blessing Maregere

How many students have you come across, that have 2 businesses and have published their own book at the age of 18? Blessing Maregere is an 18 Year old social entrepreneur and author with a mission to inspire, educate and motivate young people to become successful entrepreneurs. He is the CEO & Founder of Bright Futures enterprise. Let’s hear what Blessing had to say.

1) What inspires you about business, and made you want to start your own?
I would say the main inspiration came from seeing individuals younger than me starting their own businesses. So I thought, if they can do it, why can’t I?

In 2009 during my GCSE exams I got worried that I may fail, I struggled with my last exam, maths. So I started to think if I don’t gain these qualifications, what’s the next step in my life? So I tried to find a part time job but it wasn’t easy due to my lack of experience. That’s when I told myself if I can’t find a job, I am going to make one for myself. I went on to launch my own contract cleaning company in Leeds.

2) You have your own book? Tell us a little bit about it and your other ventures?
Yes I wrote my own book when I was finishing sixth for. I did so because that a lot of young people were coming to me asking how I have managed to set up a business at such a young age. The media portrays young people in a negative way and everyone thinks that you can’t be young and successful. So I wrote the book to prove that you can be young and successful.

I am also the CEO and Founder of Bright Futures Enterprise which a social enterprise with a mission to inspire, educate and motivate young people to become entrepreneurs. We run entrepreneurship boot camps and enterprising events for young people.

I am also one of the Founders of a social enterprise called not just a trading company. Not Just A trading company is a social enterprise with a mission to change the way people shop by providing them with fair trade products. We will be launching our own brand of fair trade products ranging from rice, coffee, tea, and hot chocolate and chocolate bars.

3) Using an example of one of your businesses, when you discovered you had a viable business idea, what steps did you take?
The first step I took with Essential Cleaning Company was conducting some research on my target audience and competition. It is important to know who your customers are, the best way to contact them and whether there was a gap in the market.

4) As a young entrepreneur what struggles have you faced, if so, how do you overcome these struggles?
Every young entrepreneur will have an issue with people not believing that they can do it. I had this issue when I set up the contract cleaning company, my mum thought I was wasting my time and this was a big challenge for me. However I managed to overcome it by following my dream and doing what I love. When starting up at a young age you will have people telling you your wasting time or it’s not going to work, I would say “follow your dreams and one day you will make it”.

5) When you require support, or a helping hand. Where do you turn?
I was lucky enough to have a business mentor who is very supportive and he gives me a hand when I need it. So I would advise those looking to set up your own business get yourself a business mentor.

6) Do you think anyone can be an entrepreneur?
That’s an interesting question. I believe that anyone can be an entrepreneur you just need to have passion for your idea and be prepared for the late nights and failing. If you’re not prepared for this, being an entrepreneur is not for you.

7) Is university helping you develop as an entrepreneur, if so how?
My university is helping me develop as an entrepreneur because I am one of the lucky people who got a place on the Theo Pathitis Entrepreneur Degree which I am enjoying as we have the opportunity to develop entrepreneurial skills.

8) Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I see myself doing the same thing, running my own business, inspiring other young people to become successful entrepreneurs and having fun.


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