I Am Looking For

Alumni Mentor Young Entrepreneurs

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Five highly successful Bolton School alumni have offered their time and expertise to help develop entrepreneurial flair in a select group of Sixth Formers. The new Entrepreneurship Scheme provides Year 12 students with the opportunity to develop their business ideas and gain a grounding in the skills and knowledge they need to succeed.

Nine keen students from across the Boys’ and Girls’ Divisions have joined the Scheme, which will run for the first time over the course of this year. In addition to six virtual group sessions with all of the mentors, students have been paired up with a specific Old Boy or Old Girl as their individual mentor. The one-to-one mentoring programme will facilitate exploration of each individual’s areas of interest, helping the students to develop their ideas as well as their entrepreneurship and business acumen more generally.

At the end of the Scheme, students will pitch their ideas for investment from the mentors, with seed funding available to every students whose business plan merits it.

The first group session took place early in February. Each of the Year 12 students gave a short presentation explaining why they applied to be a part of the scheme, what prompted their interest in entrepreneurship and what products they might develop. The creative ideas included an app to deliver educational resources to children in developing countries, an electronic device to make life easier for blind and partially sighted people, and a product to combat isolation in older people. The Sixth Formers were motivated by a variety of different factors, but all of them showed a real passion to seize the opportunities offered.

Rob Dobson, the Old Boy leading the Entrepreneurship Scheme, said: ‘There is nothing more important at this time than giving young people the opportunity to aim for a brighter horizon. Bolton School is leading the way with this programme, empowering its pupils to take on the biggest of challenges by helping them develop their entrepreneurial skills. The programme is off to a great start with a highly accomplished group of alumni mentors and the first group of pupils who impressed the mentors with their passion and ambition.’

The five alumni mentors are giving their time for free to encourage Year 12 students’ interest in entrepreneurship. They are:

Juhi Gore (Class of 1993) has helped Listed Companies, startups and medium size companies grow through business development, product development and partnerships. She currently works with early-stage impact-focused businesses, social enterprises and the ecosystems helping them to succeed.

John Craven (Class of 1982) studied Engineering at Imperial College, London, before joining the London office of an American investment bank as a graduate trainee. After a long career working mostly for large investment banks, he and a close friend started their own business, Smith Square Partners, 10 years ago.

Rob Dobson (Class of 1982) gained a First class degree in Electronic Engineering from the University of Southampton before founding Actix, a tech business focused on algorithmic optimization for mobile phone networks. Rob, who was the Boys’ Division Prizegiving Speaker in June 2017, is now one of the most active independent angel investors in Scotland and is passionate about empowering young people to start their own businesses.

Elizabeth Newton (Class of 1979) 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. She has a BA in Business and an MA in Manpower Studies, as well as an executive coaching qualification, and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Tony Wadsworth, CBE (Class of 1974) has spent over 40 years in the music industry, including 26 years at EMI, where he was Chairman and CEO of EMI Music UK & Ireland from 1998 to 2008. Tony was Chairman of both the BPI, the representative body of the UK recorded music industry, and BRIT Awards Ltd for seven years, and continues to Chair the Brit Trust.  He is the Chairman of the global charity, Julie's Bicycle, a  non-executive board director of BIMM, the market leader in popular music higher education, and  a founding partner in ethical ticketing platform Twickets. He continues to provide advice and consultancy to senior executives in the music business.

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