My journey begins like that of every other ambitious student; I had big ideas about what I could become when I got older and started to make plans for how I would get there. Although my parents were innocently feeding my ambitions with the “endless possibilities that exist in the world of work”, like the famous saying “too many cooks spoil the broth” and I slowly came to realise that too many ambitions can distract one’s focus. At this point I needed to have one goal, one occupation, one calling that I could commit my life to and build something amazing out of.
Attending Newham sixth form college (NewVIc) brought me closer to this goal. I was happy to be engaged in many extracurricular activities and inspired by great teachers. The teaching I received from the likes of Nazli Koc, Annie John and Saci Lloyd waved away many clouds of uncertainty. I can still remember sitting at the back of room B281 enjoying lectures on the Vietnam war and the civil rights movement. After every lesson I asked myself, ‘why am I so motivated and engaged by this? I asked myself these same questions whilst participating in student ventures as I began to develop a strong interest in business. Despite all this, I was still unsure about which career option to take.
During a long summer holiday preparing for what university had in store for me, I slowly came to my senses. I realised that the combination of good teaching and my involvement in college business ventures had left its mark. In the time I spent reminiscing about good times, my nostalgia solidified and I had an epiphany which led to a clear question: “what if I could inspire young people to turn their interests into a business venture through teaching and practical experience?” This was an important question because from this point I knew that there would be nothing more fulfilling than developing a company that could have the same impact on young minds as NewVIc had on me. My mission was now to provoke the curiosity of young people and maybe, just maybe, get them to think about turning their interests into a venture they could be proud of.
So at university I tried to convert these ideas into action. Together with Nathan, a close friend, I co-founded a company called Guerrilla London. The first line of our mission statement was: ‘we want to train young people in business practices through our entrepreneurial fashion brand’. We learned a lot very quickly and we trained 20 young people by giving them work experience in retail. Although it didn’t work out in the end, working on the business was exciting. The most important thing that we all took from this experience is that we shouldn’t be afraid to fail. What really matters is our ability to bounce back and learn from our mistakes. This knowledge is invaluable as it gets you through the hard times and pushes you to develop something even greater than before!
Now I am delivering exciting, work-based tasks to students with my new company. At Stimuli Development, we are working with university and college students to get young people employed and more entrepreneurial. With NewVIc’s help we are making good progress and we are ready for the challenges to come. Every time I sit back and think about the good times I had at college, my experiences since then and how this all led up to the development of my current company, I always end my thoughts with this clear maxim: ‘Good teachers teach. Great teachers inspire’.
Airey Grant – NewVIc class of 2010
Website: Stimuli-ltd.com Twitter: @Stimuli_dev
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