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Alumni Mentor Sixth Form Students in New Scheme

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Several Y13 students from across both Divisions of Bolton School have spent an instructive year under the mentorship of five high achieving alumni. The Sixth Formers enjoyed virtual group sessions with all of the former pupils and were paired up with one each as their individual mentor. The one-to-one programme facilitated exploration of each individual’s area of interest, helping the students to develop their ideas as well as their entrepreneurial and business acumen. The Entrepreneurship Scheme drew to a close with five groups pitching their business plans in a Dragons’ Den type forum. The mentors, some in person in the Arts Centre and others attending virtually, offered feedback on the presentations. 

All the Sixth Form students spoke positively about the scheme and professed to having learned lots during the process and to developing their entrepreneurial capabilities. They now felt more attuned to the challenges faced by start-up businesses and talked about improving their skills in ideation, research, product development, networking, strategic thinking and communication. 

After a catch-up lunch, Umar Awais and Matthew Syers were the first to present and talked about launching their fruit flavoured chocolate product. Sofia Carrera-Knowles told how her objective had been to create a product to help the blind or visually impaired. Summer Kay explained her loneliness-fighting project which had involved matching up students with alumni and she talked about the trials and tribulations involved with this! Aimen Iqbal talked about setting up her own law firm and Fabeha Shafaat, building on her prior experience from Young Enterprise and being a Youth MP, spoke about launching an NGO offering free education to disadvantaged children in the developing world. 

After the pitch, each student received a £100 participation award. 

The five alumni mentors who gave their time to encourage the students were: Juhi Gore (Class of 1993) who currently works with early-stage impact-focused businesses, social enterprises and the ecosystems helping them to succeed; John Craven (Class of 1982) who, after a long career working mostly for large investment banks, along with a close friend launched Smith Square Partners; Rob Dobson (Class of 1982) who founded Actix, a tech business focused on algorithmic optimisation for mobile phone networks and is now one of the most active independent angel investors in Scotland; Elizabeth Newton née Whyatt (Class of 1979) who is Head of Professional Development at London Business School, having worked in talent management and development in both corporate environments and through her own consultancy; and Tony Wadsworth, CBE (Class of 1974) who had spent over 40 years in the music industry, including 26 years at EMI, where he was Chairman and CEO of EMI Music UK & Ireland as well as being Chairman of both the BPI and BRIT Awards Ltd and who continues to Chair the Brit Trust and the global charity, Julie's Bicycle.

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