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An award-winning businessman, written off by teachers as a no-hoper, has launched a fund to inspire and support teenagers amongst the Grenfell community in one of London’s most deprived and beloved areas.
Jamie Fraser, who has built up a £75 million value recruitment company, is ploughing £100,000 ‘into his Entrepreneur Fund’ to give youngsters from deprived communities a chance at creating a successful business.
The 28-year-old, who left school with four GCSEs and started his company in a tiny office with one phone, wants to create platforms and pathways to make it easier for youngsters to forge careers.
Tutors at Morley College London, which has a student base including many who have struggled with mainstream education and was revitalised from grants given after Grenfell, invited the CEO to deliver an address to students on Tuesday.
He inspired dozens of students with his story on the eve of the Grenfell anniversary and revealed they will be able to apply to the fund to be mentored and also receive financial support for their ventures from July 1.
He told pupils:” Literally anything is possible. What stops anyone achieving anything is only down to ourselves and nothing else. I am here to give that opportunity to another young entrepreneur that has a great business idea “
The College, in North Kensington, London, is close to Grenfell Tower, which was devastated by fire in 2017. It has joined forces with the nearby Portobello Business Centre to help families rebuild their lives.
“I am a big believer in people’s hard work and determination. I am always willing to give every single individual with young talent or someone who wants to be an entrepreneur a chance to make something out of their life,” said Jamie, whose InterEx company, a staffing agency specialising in tech, cloud, cyber security, and project delivery sectors, has offices in London, New York and Miami.
“One of my goals when I launched InterEx, was to coach, mentor & train future entrepreneurs and that is something I am committed to doing in my career. I wasn’t academic so school offered me very little and there are thousands of children like me who just fall by the wayside because they don’t fit in and that is a tragic waste.”
Jamie, from Essex, had a rocky childhood and school years but was given a chance by a recruitment firm boss who gave him a job despite his lack of qualifications and experience. “Someone recognised something in me and took a chance on me. They had faith in me and that was crucial,” he added.
“That is the sort of intervention I want to make in other people’s lives – to show them that they can achieve and give them direction to make it, providing they are prepared to work hard.”
He has put up £100,000 for his Entrepreneur Fund and will interview applicants for the Fund, which will launch next month via the Portobello Business Centre website.
Morley College Programme Area Manager for English Lucy Reese said: “Many of our learners dream of becoming entrepreneurs, but sometimes lack the guidance or contacts to do so. I know it would really benefit them to hear directly from Jamie what he thinks was the secret to his success.”
Portobello Business Centre (PBC) CEO Simon Shimmens said: “We are absolutely delighted to be working with Morley college and Jamie, and this very generous kick off fund of 100,000 to support young entrepreneurs.
“As we know at PBC, start-up funding is often very difficult to obtain for young people with aspirations for self-employment or starting their own businesses. We support these individuals through workshops, courses and programmes, but Jamie will undoubtedly inspire young people with his own success and offers a fantastic opportunity to apply for a grant to help them realise their dreams.
“We are thrilled to partner with both Morley and Jamie to support thriving future entrepreneurs with their very own business ventures
“It is such a great opportunity, and we are so keen to be working with the college as a lot of entrepreneurs start at school, and we have previously been working with adults. You can tell from Jamie’s passion and enthusiasm that whoever benefits from his fund is going to get so much more than just the grant but receive incredible support in life. It’s all about mindset, attitude and support”
Morley Vice Principal (Student Engagement) and Centre Principal (North Kensington Centre for Skills) Craig Hanlon- Smith added:”Jamie is going to give you an inspiring talk. This college is all about what happens next, and what other opportunities are out there in the world.
“What we are doing at the college is very much a collaboration of what is happening in the world and all the opportunities we can take advantage of. It is about the future and how this local area moves forward, and what is available for people in this area.”