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12 11

Golden rules to business success with TV tycoon Theo Paphitis








Unconventional ways that you can make money at University






Young apprentice with ‘a whole lot of balls’




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CONTENTS Here’s what to expect from this month’s issue of AIM magazine, folks. We’ve got everything to set you on the road to success.

p.5 NEWS

The lowdown on all things interesting in education and business this month.

p.6 BOY vs BORIS

AIM meets “Britain’s Barack Obama” and follows his rise to fame thanks to the help of YouTube


Mashable’s Pete Cashmore proves that the Web is the new way to get rich quick.


We spoke to director Rashid Kasirye founder of online channel Link Up TV.



BBC Junior Apprentice semi-finalist, shares her passion for business and her new projects.


Freedom vs Funds. The age old uni debate rages on. AIM weighs up if Uni’s for you.



Find out how you are going to keep your party fund alive and well.



How to choose the right course for YOU.


Anthony Hart warns how Cowell and Co. aren’t necessarily your fast-track to fame.

We find out the worth of more moneybags moguls in this month’s ‘High Earners’ section.


Wanting to broaden the mind? See the world? Or just escape the idea of doing any more work? Then let AIM guide you through gap years.

p.28 FACEBOOK’S FUTURE Fast approaching the billion member member milestone, just how big could Facebook get?



Tips from those in the know on how to start your own business. Includes Theo Paphitis’ 12 golden rules to self-employed success.



We’re nothing without you guys. The letters section deals with any thoughts, advice or queries from our trusty readership.

Get your foot in the door and onto the job ladder now that your CV is ready to blow the boss away.



p.47 HOW MUCH?!?


Apprenticeships are no longer something to be sneered at. Get paid while you learn.


A look into the mysterious world of a city worker and the highs and lows of a typical day.


Social media is no longer just for socialising. Get ahead of the game with a practical profile.





Egg cookers, bed sheets and sexists. They all entered the Den. They all failed. Epically.






Hello everyone and welcome to this month’s issue of AIM. Summer is upon us and it can often be an important time of year. As well as enjoying the weather (when it actually comes good) it is also a time when young people make decisions about their next steps in their lives or careers. Many of you may well be considering going to university, with the application deadlines only a few months away. We’ve had a look at the ups and downs of university. You might be weighing up whether university is right path to take. We won’t tell you what to do, but hopefully we will give you the facts that will enable to make the decision that is right for you. And if you do go to university. we’ve got a piece on gap years, and ways you can enjoy one while doing something productive at the same time. Money worries are a common anxiety for university students and youngsters, so we have included a number of practical ways in which you can save money. We will give you tips on how to make the perfect CV and increase your chances of getting the job you want. We also have a spread about setting up a business. We share some tips from experts, including Dragons’ Den star Theo Paphitis who gives us his 12 Golden Rules which he had done business by all his career. We speak to Leon Fearon, who confronted London Mayor Boris Johnson at the height of last summer’s riots. The video went viral on YouTube. Almost a year later, Fearon now runs his own business. We also look at social networking websites and investigate how bosses use it to check on their employees. We take a look some of the young high-earners the UK has produced, some of them from ideas that didn’t need a lot of money to start up, as well as the story of Facebook and what the future has in store for one of the world’s most iconic websites. As ever we have a few interviews lined up, with And of course, there’s some lighter stuff for you to have a laugh at. We

AIM AIM Magazine is published monthly. All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the express written permission of the publishers. While every effort is made to ensure that information is correct, changes can occur, for which AIM holds no responsibility. Distributed Nationally


look at the ten worst ideas to ever make it onto Dragons’ Den, as well as systematically ripping apart the idea that shows such as the X-Factor can lead you to fame and fortune. And as a treat check out page 35 where you can get vouchers for great deals from companies such as Orange, WHSmiths, Subway, River Island and more. Plus we have all the latest news from the world of business and education. Amongst some of the things of note to happen this month, is the release of a new report which says some proffessions, such as journalism and law, aren’t doing enough to recruit young people from poorer social backgrounds. Now please forgive us for this moment of self-indulgence, but we recently won the gong for “Best Magazine for Youngsters” at the John Smith award for magazine journalism. And one last thing, some brilliant news. Recently we have launched the new AIM mobile and tablet apps. The apps are available for theiPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone devices. It includes the latest news, features and games and well as exclusive content such as videos. To download it for free visit or visit the iTunes store or Google Play. Whatever interests you in this issue, I hope you find it entertaining and helpful. Enjoy the issue.

Matt Discombe, Editor





Ethan Tellett - @ethantellett Anthony Hart - @anthonyhart Joshua Burrell - @joshuaburrell Matthew Discombe - @matthewdiscombe Kelly Dobson - @kellydobson

AIM magazine 8 Minalloy House Sheffield S10 JNL

Follow us at : @AIMmonthly

NEWS Retailers hire more staff for first time in nearly 10 years Talks of the recession and a ‘credit crunch’ have been silenced lately thanks to a report from The Confederation of British Industry showing retail employment to be on the up for the first time in nearly a decade. CBI’s figures showed that the number of people employed in high street stores and shopping centres increased in May – ending a decline dating back to February 2003. The nationwide survey found that 43% of retailers enjoyed better sales in May 2012 than in the same month last year. British firms appear to be doing particularly well at the moment with Topps Tiles and Jaguar recording record profits. Successful companies are now looking to return the favour to a loyal public by improving the nation’s employment figures through the hiring of job-seeking citizens. The news keeps getting better for job hunters who have been told to expect a surge in employment as big name brands plan to recruit further over the summer months. Asda chief operating officer Judith McKenna, head of the panel that runs the CBI survey said: “It’s encouraging to see high street sales are up compared to a year ago, and that business sentiment about the next three months has improved.”

Facebook launches camera app

Meet Facebook’s Camera App Facebook has launched a new photo-sharing app.

The app, which was released on May 24, can take pictures, edit them, apply filters and other effects, and share the photos with other Facebook friends. It is already been used by over 90 million people.

The camera shares many similarities with Instagram, which was bought by Facebook for $1bn earlier this year. But while Facebook Camera pictures can be shared with friends on the site, Instagram pictures can be shared through Facebook, Twitter or e-mail. Facebook’s Camera app is free, and is desgined for users looking for an easy way to view and share photos from their phones and tablets. The app will also allow users to post pictures onto their Facebook profiles. Users an also view other people’s online photos. They can ‘like’ and comment on anything you come across without having to visit the Facebook web site.

Rise in University Technical Colleges High profile companies such as Jaguar, British Airways and Land Rover, are among major sponsors to back Univeristy Technical Colleges (UTC’s). UTC’s are popping up all over the country. These specialised colleges are set to work alongside Universities and major employers to train more than 20,000 14 to 19-year-olds in England. The aim is to teach technical skills as well as gaining academic qualifications. So far there are a handful of UTC’s that specialise in a wide range of subjects. Entertainment crafts and technologies, engineering and digital technology and aviation are among the subjects already being taught at the new colleges. UTC students receive a broad education including English, maths and science combined with practical and technical qualifications which are recognised by employers and universities. You can apply to join at UTC from as early as 14 years of age. At a time when college funding is being cut, UTC’s offer an excellent alternative. To find out more visit our website at

Great news for job seekers this month as high street stores hand out jobs

Barriers deny jobs for youngsters Medicine, law and journalism are amongst professions that should increase their intake of young people from poorer backgrounds, an advisor of the Deputy Prime Minister has said. Former Labour minister Alan Milburn, now an advisor to Nick Clegg, has called for a bigger drive in recruitment. In a progress report published last week, he described internship schemes as a lottery. Milburn also said that no profession had successfully “cracked” recruitment. Milburn was asked to put the report together in 2010, after doing a similar task for Gordon Brown’s Labour government. “There’s a series of barriers that, maybe inadvertently, the professions put in the way of those with ability and aptitude from a variety of backgrounds getting even the first foot career on the ladder into the professions,” Milburn told the BBC. “It’s partially about how they provide work experience opportunities, internships, their recruitment processes, where they recruit from.” “Too many professions are, in effect, shutting out opportunities for youngsters who are under-represented in those professions,” Clegg told Sky News.

Backwards Britain should respect apprenticeships, says Miliband Ed Miliband has criticised the “snobbery” that suggests only an academic education is useful, insisting that the UK must give more respect and value to apprenticeships. The Labour leader accused the government of taking “backward steps” by allowing inequality to grow and denying bright youngsters from poor backgrounds the chance to succeed. He said: “But now Britain is sliding backwards. This government seems to think we can let those at the top take whatever rewards they want and everyone else can just play catch up. You can’t claim the mantle of social mobility and then make your priority, cutting taxes for millionaires while raising taxes for everyone else.” Miliband stressed allowing young people from poorer backgrounds to reach university is crucial to improving the situation. He also spoke about supporting the coalition’s view to improve schools as well as teacher and school quality.

For daily news updates, visit our website


‘I took on Boris and went viral’

The internet dared to tackle

Leon, right, gives Mayor Johnson a piece of his mind

After a night of intense rioting on London streets last summer, Clapham residents turned out in their thousands to help clean up. Among the crowds were a number of TV crews, London mayor Boris Johnson - and Leon Fearon, a 19-year-old insurance broker, who was on his lunch break. Leon’s one-minute confrontation with the mayor was captured by people on camera phones as well as TV stations like CNN. Within hours, he was an internet sensation, as he tells JOSHUA BURRELL.


sensation who the London Mayor “When the riots took place there were a few things I was unhappy about and I wanted a chance to express them. I didn’t want to just tell my mum, my friends or even my manager. When I saw Boris, I gave him a bit of a rollicking on what I thought of him and the government cuts. I didn’t care if I was booed or ignored. I just wanted that chance to speak my mind.” By the time he got home there were people calling him asking if he’d seen the video. The views were jumping by the thousands each hour. Some YouTube comments liken the confident young man to ‘Britain’s Barack Obama’ with his confident public speech and within days Sky News were calling his workplace to arrange his first ever interview. A car was on its way to collect him from his office and he was rushed straight onto live TV. “They offered me a very well-paid job. I rejected the £50,000-a-year offer even though I’m pretty sure they were drafting up a contract while I was on-air.” CNN flew him to the US for an interview. Another job offer. Another rejection from Leon. Other people his age may have been out looting last summer, he found a legal opportunity to get his point across, which has seen Leon’s popularity skyrocket. He says, “If you have a point, don’t riot and loot. For that you’ll get jail or a criminal record. Instead get your voice heard. You can’t get a positive message across with negative action.” Leon’s love for business started when he was a 15-year-old selling sweets and drinks in the school playground eventually earning £300 with his friends. His new business, Future Best is only starting to come alive now nearly four years after he got the idea for it. After leaving school he had few good GCSEs and the highest grade was a C. Armed only with himself and his idea, he approached investors seeking £50,000 investment to help bring it to life. The whole concept of Future Best is to help young people to use computers. They will be able to build computers from scratch using re-used parts and then take them home at the end. Becoming a youth ambassador, Leon has been able to incorporate his media exposure into a way to really push his business, and it seems to be working well. “I realised that I was likeable and that people were willing to listen to me now. I could now make Future Best happen. I have so much to give and now is my time to give it.” Leon aims to make Future Best into a whole brand with a range of companies in different industries including a shake-up of barbershops and Caribbean restaurants. His life mantra is that everything in your future should be your best it possibly can be, or else it’s not worth doing. Leon wasn’t a big fan of the learning side of school and felt that it wasn’t doing anything to really help him. But today he works full-time and goes to lots of meetings with important people to help make a difference. Leon definitely wants wealth and success but he also plans on giving lots of what he earns to charities. “I’ll use myself to get people to give, but only give what they can afford to. As I told Boris, don’t stretch your hand where it cannot reach.” Leon believes that problems in the government and the police have been there for years but the riots just helped bring them to the surface. The government cuts were not something that helped the cause, however in their wake, millions of pounds were made available to help repair the country. The budding entrepreneur gives off a friendly vibe, sitting relaxed in his white shirt, tie removed and top button undone, but some of what he has been through shows his determination has been key to his success. The death of his primary school teacher Mrs. Birch was also something that he credits for his enthusiasm and going to secondary school in a fairly rough area of South London was an experience that he found made him tougher as a person. He has always loved planes and as soon as he turned exactly 13 and three months he joined the air cadets. He learnt skills such as discipline, pride in his appearance, common sense and efficiency. Leon never had a strong male figure around him, but at ATC Leon found something he was good and something that he really enjoyed. However, it wasn’t to last, as he was kicked out of the cadets at 16 due to what he called jealousy of his achievement. He’d aimed to get to the very top rank but was one step away. “I was there longer than anyone else and I was achieving well because of my ambition. I had something that someone else didn’t, I was framed and had a really strong relationship with the C.O. before that.” At the time Leon was also going through terrible stresses at home due to harassment by his next door neighbours. He was chased and stabbed by their teenage daughter and it escalated into a massive fight. Cadets was his break from the hell at home. He didn’t understand the jealousy though, as when he was growing up he didn’t have much except for his drive and ambition.

He very much started at the bottom. Leon was sharing a two-bedroom flat with about six other family members for over a year after moving away from his neighbours. He had to sleep in a living room and when he was kicked out had even spent nights sleeping in hostels which may have cost him investors in the past. Throughout his life he has focused on positivity and was helped out by his Mum. Leon has moved from the experience of being of cadets but encourages everyone to do something that they enjoy. Playing on sob stories is not something that he wants to be associated with. “I was obsessed with Richard Branson and everything that he’d done in business. I finished school and I told my Mum I didn’t want to go to college. It almost started World War 3!” He promised her that he wasn’t going to stay at home sleeping the days away and was going to convince her with actions. He didn’t have a full plan laid out, but knew where he didn’t want to be. He went into schools and spoke to young people as market research for his business idea. He went to investors to begin with but got very little support from them and no investment. “People just weren’t taking me seriously. I got just £10 a week from my Mum and I needed a job.” After ages of applying, he got his first job selling make-up door to door losing more money than he was making. A more secure job working in a BT call centre was his next job and within a few weeks he was the top seller. “I stayed at BT for three months but I never got complacent. I always had my business, Future Best, in mind,” he said. His next job was at Swinton insurers where he was the best seller at his branch for the past two years. After saving up for three months at Swinton, Leon was able to buy a first-class plane ticket to Trinidad and Tobago. Half the attraction of flying first class was for the experience; however, Leon also had the hope that he would meet someone that could help him out with his business idea. Leon got chatting to a random man who turned out to be Philip Kentwell, the Australian High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago. They exchanged numbers and the next day Leon and his Aunt went to visit the home of home by chauffeur-driven car. He said, “I thought someone was pulling my leg. There were gates and security guards, I felt like I was in heaven.” Leon took a calculated risk and stayed for dinner at this random house. It was no ordinary dinner- the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago was there along with a number of other famous politicians from the islands. Being at air cadets had taught Leon all the discipline that he needed to carry himself well at the dinner, however, as usual he spoke his mind and told the Prime Minister about problems that he’d had with immigration officers when he arrived. Leon stayed the night within the safety of the metal gates, laser security system and private guards. He woke up the next morning to breakfast in bed brought by a maid. After Leon went back to England, they stayed in touch. Leon sent the High Commissioner daily reports of what he was up to and points towards a flight back were given when he did well. “I don’t know what made him trust me but I’m glad he did. These are the experiences that stay with you forever. I realised that I have opportunities here in England that the kids in Trinidad don’t.” This opportunity came not on a plate but by a young man putting himself on a plane. By taking himself out of his comfort zone and going into first class. Leon has now bought himself a car. This is a testament to his hard work and good saving from his job. He has recently left the insurance broker job and is focusing fully on Future Best, which is now a registered company. “I never knew where my life was going when I didn’t go to college but there has always been drive here. I never let anyone tell me that I wasn’t good enough. I lacked so much but have seen what’s out there. I knew how to get what I wanted and I want to hold onto it and never let it go.” We shall see what the next chapter holds for the nineteen year-old who spoke.

See Leon confronting Boris Johnson at


cash for Cashmore

Regular student, Pete Cashmore was sat in his bedroom at home, when an idea came to him. Seven years later, this idea could have earned him $200 million. KELLY DOBSON Since he was 13, the internet was regular student Pete Cashmore’s best friend. After suffering an illness that put him in and out of hospital, Cashmore turned to the comfort of his bedside computer to browse the Internet for entertainment. Intrigued by the power of the Internet and the ability to connect with people all over the world, Cashmore’s obsession grew. He opted out of college to pursue the launch of his own website on the web. Following a series of trials and tribulations, Cashmore unintentionally sparked the right chord with other web users. In 2005, Mashable was born. From his home in Aberdeen, Scotland, Cashmore launched an online news blog when he was 19-yearsold. Within a few days, the Mashable blog had attracted the attention of thousands of people. His idea had turned into a minor success, overnight. Having a space where ordinary people could post news stories was a new concept in the ever growing social media domain. The site focuses on news concerning social media, entertainment and technology. The progress of the site soon became realised by Cashmore. Over the following months, there was a substantial increase in people that visited his site. Cashmore honed in to what his users wanted. It now focuses on up-to-the-minute news on social networks and digital trends in technology. As well as being named Briton of the year by the Telegraph, Young Global Leader and one of Times Magazines top 100 influential people, modest 26-yearold Pete Cashmore was unheard of just a few years ago. With such a following, Cashmore uses his website Mashable and other social media sites to spread his ideas for the good.

For example, on his 23rd birthday, he used social media sites to raise money to build freshwater wells in Africa. What a guy. His well-being doesn’t stop there. The Mashable Team launched the Social Good Summit. The Social Good Summit is an annual conference which is held to raise awareness for global challenges that need a voice. The idea is that by using social and technological innovations, people of all walks of life, all over the globe, can influence decisions to make a good change in the world. The event takes place in New York using Cashmore’s favourite toy - the internet. It ignites conversations between a live audience in New York City and thousands of other people around the world participating via Livestream. Its hard to believe that Cashmore funded the site himself and began to make small amounts of money from advertising. All from his bedroom. Today, Mashable’s success is backed up by its 20 million visitors to the site per month. In addition to the success of the site, Mashable has accumulated near enough 3 million followers on Twitter, making it one of the most the world’s most followed Twitter pages. That must seem like a lifetime ago for Cashmore as news organisation CNN is rumoured to be buying Mashable this year for $200 million (£128 million). It just shows that having an idea, no matter how big or small, and mixing it with a sprinkling of determination and endurance can change your life forever. Visit our site at to see how you can benefit from social media or download our app and become part of the revolution.

INTERESTING FACT: Mashable was hosted on WordPress instead of Typepad because it was too expensive for Cashmore to run - it cost him $10 a month. Now he’s rolling in it. Dressed to impress - Pete Cashmore


Have an idea,

believe in it Rashid Kasirye started off with a MySpace page and some local rappers. His Link Up TV music videos now get almost a million views each month. Anthony Hart spoke to the man behind the camera.

Taking the mic: Three undiscovered performers go through the LinkUpTV studio

It is a small operation, which only employs 10 people. However their product is a website which aims to give a platform to new musical talent, without having to go through the record labels. Rashid Kasirye set up LinkUp TV initially as a YouTube channel, but grew rapidly. It now has mixture of music videos, life performances and talent. The website markets itself as “the number one for talent and entertainment.” Some of the videos have been rated so highly that they have featured on TV channels such as Channel 4, The Box, Kiss and MTV. The sites popularity has rocketed, and it now averages a million hits a month. He is relaxed, and has an air of confidence, yet he clearly has a ruthless streak which you would not to be on the wrong end of. In short, he seems the type of person who could be set for bigger things. Rashid wanted to do something like this since high school, but never had the tools at his disposal. “We work with underground talent, polish it and bring it to a mass audience. We also do a lot of talent development, where we have young rappers and singers that we look after,” he says. “I did a bit of media when I was at high school, but I never really had the platform. But I started putting videos on MySpace, I started to make videos with local artists, and did a DVD called the big Linkup. “It was going well so in 2008 we started to take it a little more seriously. We started filming events and doing interviews, but I thought that I needed a unique selling point, so rather than just filming people in the street we decided to hire a studio and started getting people through there.” Rashid is still one of four directors who now work for LinkUp TV. They also have five writers who contribute to a blog and write news stories about the latest events in the world of music. The site also carries music videos featuring new talent, as well as videos of live sessions and links to downloads of singles. LinkUp TV shares many similarities with SBTV, a channel made famous by a recent TV advert for Google Chrome. The channel was set up by Jamal Edwards, initially with no more than a camcorder and a YouTube account. SBTV has made Jamal a minor celebrity. He has made appearances on BBC Radio One and other radio and TV shows to give his tips on entrepreneurship. Rashid doesn’t see Jamal and SBTV as competition though. “We do similar things, but obviously SB is bigger. They aim for the mainstream. But I like to focus more on the rap side of things. If you watch both us and SB, you’ll see things that are very different,” he says. Rashid has had to make ruthless decisions in his career. Last week he sacked a director, who he accused of using his contacts in the music industry. He still feels betrayed. “He set up his own business on the side, not telling


Clockwise from top: A freestyle session from Maxsta, being recorded in the LinkUp studio, Some of LinkUp’s best talent at an MTV ‘New Talent’ announcement in Camden last year, another product of the LinkUp studio, Rax, doing a promotional shoot for his latest mixtape. anyone, He was using my contacts to benefit his own company. So I just cut him off,” he says. “It was an easy decision; I don’t fire anyone for no good reason. “If you mess me over once, I don’t believe in second chances.” He has faced problems during LinkUp TV’s short life. Rashid does not suffer fools gladly. “There are people who try to mess you over. There are some people who are only looking out for themselves. You have rap artists who try and step out of line. They try and act as if they’re smart, but then you have got to remind them that I’ve done more than you lot, and I can do it without you I’ve also had little clients who don’t try and pay any money. You do a job, and before you know it you haven’t been paid.”


His advice to young people who want to be successful are simple. Rashid clearly has little time for people who he would see as an inconvenience. “Don’t be scared of pissing people off. People can be scared of the consequences. Sometimes it delays people. Piss them off now and move forward with your life” Rashids’ plans for the future aren’t set in stone. He wants to expand, but realises there is always the chance of a lucky break which changes everything. “I want to get more artists involved. I want to cover bigger events. But you can’t really plan for the future as such, something new might come up.” “No one would have realised SBTV would have become that big.” Despite having little time for those he can’t trust,

Rashid still says gaining contacts is important. He says the music industry is sometimes about who you know, a situation which could apply to other career paths. “Don’t burn too many bridges. The music industry is about who you know. You can have the talent, but you need to know the right people.” “Trust is another thing. You have got to watch out for a lot of people who will f*** you over Rashid is proof that an idea can be made into something big with few resources to start with. His most important piece of advice? Have some conviction. “Have an idea, believe in it, do it, and see how far it can take you.”

‘I’ve got a lot of

balls for a girl’ Meet Emma Walker - who you may remember from the first series of Junior Apprentice. Since reaching the semi-final she’s become quite a success story. And she’s still only 19. Matt Discombe finds out why Lord Sugar should be kicking himself for firing her. You can run your own business, no matter what your background or financial situation is. As long as you have an enthusiasm for business and are willing to work hard, anything is possible. This kind of determination was all Emma Walker needed to become one of Britain’s brightest young entrepreneurs. Growing up in the Cheshire countryside, she had dreams of following her parents into business. Mr and Mrs Walker were very hard-working people. When Emma first began to make money, her mother ran three Bargain Booze off licences, and her father was a caravan salesman. Grades at school never really interested Emma; she was looking forward to making money in the real world. Like many successful business people that came before her, she had humble beginnings. She made her first profit at just seven-years-old, selling sweets and eggs to her classmates at school. A wholesaler would come to her house every two weeks with a supply of sweets, and she quickly became his main customer. She would collect eggs from her family’s 200 chickens. When Emma finished her playground franchise at 13, she had ignited a life-long passion for business. She was good too – on her best day she made £46. Not bad for a day’s work. “I’ve always loved business,” she said. “I don’t mind dedicating every part of me to doing it and making a success of myself. “I hate it when people blame the recession on struggling businesses. Every business has to go through the recession. I genuinely feel there is always something you can do, and I believe everything comes to you if you are passionate enough.” It is this can-do attitude, along with her selfconfident and honest nature, which earned her a place on the first series of BBC’s Junior Apprentice (now ‘Young Apprentice’) in 2010. Having fought off 28,000 applicants to get on the TV show, Emma won three of the five tasks she was involved in, including when she was team Revolution’s project manager. The task saw Emma negotiate with six artists, and select two to sell in her team’s art exhibition. Revolution made a profit on £6,005, beating their rivals by almost £4,000. Emma, 16-years-old at the time, couldn’t quite last the distance. She was fired in the semi-final despite her team earning over £10,000 by selling baby comforters and candle lamps with cutlery sets. Unluckily, rival team Instinct made over £39,000, which was the highest amount that any team had profited since The Apprentice, began, until a team made over £100,000 in series six. Revolution returned to the boardroom and, after sending eventual winner Arjun through to the final, Lord Sugar fired Emma “with a heavy heart and much regret.” Lord Sugar was not the only one sad to see Emma leave the show. While she was on the show, she became a minor internet sensation – a Facebook group

was set up in support of Emma winning the show, which got 214 ‘likes’. “The Facebook group was just surreal,” she said. “How people treat me now is quite different too. It is quite surprising how different people behave around you just because you’ve been on Junior Apprentice. Before I was just some teenager, now I’m respected a lot more.” “I learned a lot on Junior Apprentice, but the team was so different from me. Since I was from the country and they were from big cities, they were more used to the pressure situations and I just couldn’t handle it. I had many good suggestions but I didn’t push them enough, as they had bigger personalities. “When we were waiting in the waiting room for Lord Sugar I had never been so nervous- I thought he would have been gentle on us because we were younger but he really wasn’t. He’s a very honest man, and it’s a question of whether you can take that or not.” Most people would be pleased with getting on TV, meeting Lord Sugar and going as far as the semi-final. Not Emma. She was there for one thing – to win. While she was disappointed, she was under no illusions when she walked out of the boardroom for the final time. “I really wanted to win but the truth is my performance wasn’t good enough. I was too scared to do something about it when my suggestions got shouted down when things started to go wrong. I learnt that if you have good ideas, you have to let people know as much as possible. I also didn’t really know how much £25,000 really was.” Emma has not let this setback hinder her progress. After the show, she went to the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy in Manchester to pursue her business education. It made sense to look for more qualifications – she left school with poor AS Levels. She got two D grades in politics and biology, a U in Maths, a C in economic and one A in, predictably, Business Studies. “I got grades like these yet I’m a smart girl and they didn’t really represent my intelligence,” she said. “I wanted to learn how to make money in real life and I love a challenge.” “At the academy I learnt that everyone can set up a small business. I didn’t embrace it enough at first because my mindset was still in college, but I soon got into the working mindset.” When Emma gets in the working mindset, the possibilities seem endless. She graduated from the academy in July after being awarded the title of National Ambassador of the Year 2011. There was no cash-prize this time though – Emma won just the title and the certificate, which was trodden on after Emma accidently left it on the floor. After the academy, Emma had all she needed to go into business. She launched Enterprise Days in November last year after visiting local schools and being unimpressed by the business and finance tuition


Team photo - Lord Sugar and his Junior Apprentice hopefuls (Emma - far right)

Mugshot - 16-year-old Emma means business they had to offer. Her business was set up to give young people the best education about real-world finance and business problems possible. Emma has also become an ‘entrepreneur in residence’ at a sixth form boarding house, where she will help young people realise their potential for business. “It was apparent when I went around schools talking about my experiences that there was nothing about finance and business - which affects everyone,” she said. “I think business is about as important as maths and English. Obviously these subjects are important but who, in real life, needs to recite Shakespeare? Who really needs maths beyond the basic levels? “One thing that applies to everyone is money, and we want to show people that they can go into business and make money if they want it enough.” Emma’s future plans do not stop at Enterprise Days though. In September she will move to London for a year to work with the Young Enterprise foundation. Her long term ambition is to own a drinks company, and become one of Britain’s leading businesswomen. “I’m still young and I really want to learn about business,” she said. “In the future, I’m hoping that I will be able to step up my businesses, because I have


Thinking hard - Emma on Junior Apprentice a load of ideas but I’m hoping to make them happen. Enterprise Days will always be a small business.” “What motivates me is the idea of freedom, both in time and finance. You cannot get rich if you are not either a banker, or a businessman,” she said. “If you have money you can really really change things and you don’t have to work until your 67. I never understand why people complain about working until they’re 67 when they’ve made that career choice to work until they’re 67. “I want to have a family in maybe 10, 15 years time and I want the time to see them. I don’t want to be a hard working parent who never sees their kids. So if I work enough now, I will have that freedom.” Her visions of freedom and success are not just pipe-dreams. Emma knows she has what it takes to realise her ambitions. At 19-years-old, she already has an impressive track record, and she is confident that Junior Apprentice and Enterprise Days are just the beginning. “I think I’m successful because my personality is verging on the insane. People think I’m mad with the ideas I come up with, but I don’t care. I think any idea that I can come up with can work. I’m also smart, and I’ve got a lot of balls for a girl.”

Emma’s 3 business tips • Don’t get lazy – “It’s no good lying around all day and wondering why your business is failing. You have to be completely passionate and have a hunger for business. Forget your social life- you have to commit to work 100% • Believe in yourself – “People are always going to put you down. The best thing you can do is not listen to them and prove them wrong. If you have enough belief in yourself, you will succeed. When I was younger, people my age used to put me down all the time, tell me my ideas were stupid. You just have to focus onwhat you want to do.” • Don’t go to Uni – “I’ve got nothing against Uni but If you want to go into business, sitting in a lecture theatre for 3 years is the worst thing you can possibly do. That’s not how you become the next Lord Sugar- you need to start earning money in the real world.”

Tuition fees up. The jobs market uncertain. There’s never been questions are - Is the uni lifestyle for you? Can you live in a new

The highs and lows of

GO FOR IT - independence, learning and a great social life

Uni could be the best days of your life

You will have more independence

At University you will be free to manage your life as you choose and be yourself. If you decide to move away from home, you will be free from your parents’ constant attention. You may also be making a fresh start in a different city, where you can experience living in a new city with new people, which will broaden your horizons and teach you to become independent. You will able to go out whenever you like, for as long as you like. You will be in charge of what you eat, and how much. You will manage your own money. You will also decide how clean and tidy your room needs to be. You will be also able to invite people around to your flat, or house, whenever you like. University hours will be nowhere near as lenghty as school days, so you will also have loads of free time and you’ll be able to manage your own routine.

Studying something you enjoy If you pick your course carefully, you will be studying something you enjoy learning about and have a genuine interest in. A-levels are simply a means to an end, you learn a lot of information which turns out to be irrelevant to you in a few years. At University, you will be studying a subject of your choice. You should find it more interesting, and more challenging, than school. The right course will also help you to consider the ‘bigger’ questions, and will push you to your intellectual limit, which is something that


school often struggles with. At university you learn independently. You are encouraged to express what you think. You are given a lot more independence when studying for your degree. You can contact your tutor for guidance, but you are largely left to your own devices. There is a lot less one-toone teaching than at school, and lectures will be most likely delivered in a crowded theatre. You may have to wait until after lectures or designated times of the week to ask any questions. Seminars are the part of the degree which comes closest to lessons at school, where there will be smaller groups. But in seminars the emphasis will be on the students teaching themselves. It is completely up to you whether you attend lectures and seminars. No registers are taken, and you can get away with being late. But if you miss every lecture and seminar, your grades will suffer.

Your degree can open more doors

You will have an exciting social life If you move in to halls of residence, you will be living around people from different backgrounds and cultures. You will be taken out of the comfort zone of your established group of friends, and you will find a wider, more diverse social group than at home. If you’re not into the drinking culture, the University’s students union will have many clubs, from sports clubs to debating societies. You will also have the opportunity to take up leadership roles in societies which look good on a CV. You will also have to chance to join volunteering schemes for local charities, community projects and schools. If you are moving to a bigger city, you will probably find a better night-life at university. Flat parties and socials are a great way to meet new people and make memories. It is important to not get carried away though- moving to a new place with new people can be a strange experience, and it is a bad idea to deal with that with alcohol. Vicky, a graduate who studied journalism at Sheffield Hallam, said; “I really miss uni because of the great times I had going out. Where I live is pretty small and whenever I come back to Sheffield it’s much better. In the first week, a few people I knew really over-did it when they went out drinking and they ended up making complete fools of themselves. It is important to pace yourself.”

With the economy in a bad way, almost every job market will be very competitive. Therefore, a degree will give you a much better chance to stand out from a crowd of applicants, get you invited to interviews and, hopefully, get the job you want. Degrees will show you have an in-depth knowledge of a subject area, and many employers look for qualified people who have been through higher education. Many employers have a lot of candidates to choose from, and you may find that some jobs openings require candidates with degrees. Going to university should help open doors to high-level jobs. On average, graduates earn a lot more than people who did not go to university. Over a working lifetime, a graduate will earn around £100,000 more before tax than a non graduate, according to Directgov. There are still some closed doors though - in the forms of tuition fees and graduate unemployment - as Uni can put you on the fast track to success you will find in the next section.

a better time to be unsure whether to go to university. The place? Is a degree the best way? Can you find the right course?

the university lifestyle

DON’T DO IT - poverty, crap courses and a preppy lifestyle The ‘Uni lifestyle’ may not be for you

You will have already heard stories about the university lifestyle- the parties, the independendence, the freedom. It doesn’t always work out that way. If you move in to halls in first year, you will be randomly assigned to a flat with people you do not know. Most people will settle in quickly, but you may be in a flat which does not get on with each other. If you’re not into the drinking scene, you may struggle to settle if there are alot of parties around you. People tend to settle into social groups quite quickly too, and they can often become quite cliquey. You also may not be comfortable with the day-to-day routine at university. You may have a lot of free time on your hands, but much of that will be taken up with jobs or coursework- which gets especially demanding. Josh, a mature student studying psychology at the University of Sheffield, says“Uni is all about self dsicipline and I struggle with that. It can become another routine - rise late every day. go down the library and get drunk. And repeat”

You’ll be buried in more work at Uni

Going straight into work could be better Many graduates struggle for years to find good jobs after they leave university. With tuition fees trebling, it is worth considering whether going straight into work from school, or gaining apprenticeships may be a better way to get a foot on the ladder. Many employers no longer take graduates on straight away - they want real world experience. Employers sometimes consider candidates with a ‘degree or an equivalent’ - which is open to your interpretation. If you get a number of apprenticeships or other qualifications, along with a lot of work experience, you may get employed quicker than many graduates. Graduates leaving university found it harder to get jobs in 2011 than students who left education with just A-levels. Youth unemployment is also at its highest level since the 1980s. Degrees offer a lot less value for money than they did ten years ago, so it may be a better idea to miss out on the mass of debt and start earning money as soon as you leave school.

The course may not be what you expected Though some courses look great on paper, you may have some bad surprises when you begin. Some three year courses fill modules with material which is either not relevant to you in the real world, or doesn’t interest you. If you find yourself unhappy on your course, you should talk to your tutor first. They will talk through your problems and may be able to resolve your issues. If they can’t, you may able to get a transfer to another course – either immediately or at the end of the term. However, you would have to apply through UCAS again, which is time-consuming. Another option is to drop out and apply again next year. This is risky as you will have already paid your tuition fees for that year. It is probably a better idea to make the best of your first year and get a transfer as soon as you can. Dropping out should be a last resort. Robbie, a second year aerospace engineering student at the University of Sheffield, says“I often find myself learning material that I can’t relate to in the real world. Some of it is too hypothetical.”

Students often have empty purses

Saving money will be a constant worry With universities in England and Wales now able to charge £9,000 per year in tuition fees, your tuition fees could be three times higher than for students who are currently at University. It is also harder to find courses which are value for money. Funding to higher education has been slashed by 12% because of government austerity measures, and many courses which charge the maximum amount will not offer the same standards of teaching or employment prospects. The University of Lincoln and the University of Cambridge now both charge £9,000 per year in tuition fees, despite Cambridge being 57 places ahead of Lincoln in the Guardian Higher Education League Table. So it’s more important than ever to learn as much as you possibly can about a course before applying for it. Then there are the day-to-day costs of living when you get to university. Student Finance England can also be very slow, and you may not get your loan instantly. The loan may not be enough to cover everything either, especially if your accommodation is expensive. This may force you to look for part-time work- which limits time that could be spent studying, meeting new people and enjoying the university experience.

There’s the facts, now it’s your choice As you can see, there are many pros, cons and compromises for anyone going to university. The decision lies with you. University could be the best days of your life. If you can find a course you love and think it’s value for money, you should consider going. But degrees are not the be-all-and-end-all in the jobs market. Rememeber there are still plenty of other ways to get the job you want without ever setting foot in a lecutre theatre.


AIM is here to help you save money in as many ways possible So you’re taking the plunge and going to university. Whether you go off to live on your own for the first time or decide to commute from home, you will have to think about money.



Library books and second-hand books are just as good as brand new. (Unless you need the very latest edition). No-one here is going to call you a nerd for going to the university library. In fact it’s quite the opposite and will help you get better marks in the longterm which is what you are paying for of course. Get down to your university library as soon as possible. You might have weekly reading lists and you definitely won’t be able to buy every one. Some you may even be able to share with friends. If you can, keep books in as good condition as possible. You’ll be able to sell it on for a better price when you’re done with it. Go to your lectures - after all you did pay for the course so you might as well get the most out of it, and it could avoid any costly retakes which eat into your summer and add more stress.

The fruits of your labour



Get a student loan and make sure you apply in time to ensure that you get your loan in time for the start of your course. Wherever in the UK you are you may be entitled to a loan from your local student finance company. Choosing the right student account to look after your money is also important. Take into account the overdrafts available and any charges that you might incur not just the free gifts available which are often not worth as much as they are advertised. Most universities will also offer a number of grants and bursaries that you might be eligible for and won’t need paying back. It’s definitely worth looking into. Get a student card. There are a load of different student cards available giving discounts on a load of high-street shops. The NUS offer cards to students, people studying apprenticeships and also graduates. Shop loyalty cards can also help you to gain points for money off or towards free gifts. Studies show that paying with cash has a greater psychological impact, avoid splurging on your cards. Budget your nights out and get cash out before getting to a nightclub to avoid paying anything up to £3 to get to your own money. Budgeting is great but making sure you stick to it may be harder than you think. Get the best mobile phone deal and network for you. Shop around before committing and look into pay-as-you go if you don’t use your phone much.


If you don’t NEED a car at uni don’t bring it. Worrying about petrol, tax, MOT and breaking down are all things that you’d rather not have to worry about. You may even want to think about selling a car if you have one already. Walk or cycle if it’s not too far. Travel passes can also be handy for regular public transport travel. Car-sharing when travelling between cities can be good as petrol costs can be split between you and your friends. Check different train operators as they do often charge different prices and have different offers on at different times. A 16-25 Railcard offers you a third off all train journeys and therefore usually pays for itself after just a few journeys. If you get one every year for nine-years think of the savings! Coaches do tend to be cheaper than trains with Megabus and National Express tending to be the most popular.


Spending with cash can be smarter than splashing the plastic

Follow these tips and we will help you to stash the cash

Unconventional ways to make money



You can still eat well on a very limited budget. It doesn’t all have to be pot noodles and beans on toast. If you must drink perhaps mix things up with a glass of tap water in between each alcoholic drink. As well as spending less you’ll also wake up feeling that bit fresher in the morning. It might be best to ask how much certain drinks are when you are out. It may not be wise to buy bottles of champagne if you are down to the last £50 in your account. Supermarket own brand food/drink will save you a lot of money and writing a list will help you to buy what you need and not just what you want. Keeping a spending diary for one-month will really help you identify all the money you waste on things you don’t need – magazines, takeaways, cigarettes and alcohol are the usual culprits! If you get on with housemates think about doing a shared shop or even buying bulk large items and sharing them. Better yet cook meals for the whole household. Don’t shop when you’re hungry or hungover. The food probably won’t even make it home. Taking your own lunch into lectures with you can save you splashing your cash in the student union shops every day. Local food markets, butchers and grocers can often give you better deals than supermarkets and you will get better quality food, particularly if you make a good friendship with them. You can also pick up some free or really cheap household items by looking in local newspapers, shop windows or online sites such as or

Online surveys Focus groups Freelance writing/ blogging Mystery shopping Medical trials Pile the pennies

Selling your stuff online

AT UNIVERSITY Don’t be afraid to ask if a student discount is available on things that you are buying. You are a scrimping student now after all. Home Insurance to look after all your expensive gadgets and valuables can be helpful. Between 16 and 24 you are three times more likely to be burgled. You may be covered by your parents’ insurance at home so that’s worth checking to save buying a whole new policy. Check out our website as well as moneysavingexpert. com or online for deals. Save your small change as it can all add up and you never know when it could come to good use. Sell last year’s fancy dress/going out outfits - eBay is a great way to make some cash quickly. Also consider buying new outfits online as it can be cheaper than the fancy dress shops on the high street. House parties are also a good way to save money and enjoy yourself as well as meeting new people in an environment where you can hear yourself speak. (Be careful with who you invite and try to move anything that could get broken to save you losing money from your accommodation deposit.) If distance allows, there’s always an option of continuing living at home with your parents. Just bear in mind the time it will take to get to uni. You don’t want to always be tired or even get a reputation as “the late one”. Also, your parents may not be accommodating to you having friends round and hosting crazy all-night parties.



Keep those pockets full

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Trading in old game, electronics and mobile phones Tutoring Busking Doing odd jobs (cleaning, ironing) Become a promoter for nights out





Bored of flicking through prospectus after prospectus? Have an idea that you want to share with the rest of the world? Social media is a hub of information that just might be able to help you out... KELLY DOBSON It is common knowledge that social media is taking over our lives. When most of us wake up the first thing we do is switch on the computer to see who has written on our walls or liked our statuses. However, as well as being the place we go to for a catch up with our friends, or a sneaky 20 minutes off doing schoolwork, social media sites like Facebook are excellent marketing tools. Nearly everyone on the planet has heard of Justin Bieber, right? Well, Bieber fever wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for social media. Justin Bieber rose to mega fame, just by posting a few videos of himself singing on YouTube. Now, that isn’t to say that if you post some videos of yourself singing on YouTube, that you too are going to become a superstar – but it demonstrates the effect that social media can have when marketing yourself or a product.

WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU? Many professionals use social media sites as a platform for their businesses, or even just for their ideas. They are a superb way of showcasing all that you have to offer, in your very own way, and all in just a few clicks of the mouse. Twitter is the latest craze for businesses all over the world. It seems nowadays that if you have an innovative business venture, some captivating photos and a Twitter page, then you have the perfect cocktail for attracting attention in cyberland. Let’s not forget the fact that it is completely free. It costs you nothing to start up your own page, apart from a little bit of imagination and a bit of your time to get it up and running in the way that you want it. Now, before you start, don’t go down the route of marketing yourself in an undignified way. What is often the case, especially amongst young females, is that they think that by posting pictures of their bodies (often scantilyclad) that they will attract attention to their Twitter or Facebook pages. It is a very desperate way of selling yourself. I know that you probably haven’t ever thought of doing this, but just take this as a small warning.

DANGERS OF SOCIAL MEDIA • Hiring managers of businesses and companies use social network sites to find out what kind of person you are. Sites like Twitter and Facebook can say a lot your personality, so make sure that you are careful in how you present yourself on a social media site, as much as you do in the real world. • Fake celebrity accounts are on the up on Twitter. Look out for a little blue tick next to the name of the person that you want to follow. The ‘verified’ that goes along with it means that the person is the real deal. • Beware of phishing scams and protect your identity. Scammers use social networks to steal or use personal information. Phishing scams usually look a little bit like this:

haha omg! what where you trying to do in this picture, it’s hilarious – Avoid such links and unknown users at all costs and never give out any personal information over the internet.


FOLLOW THE GREATS The first thing that you need to do is get an attention-grabbing username. Think of something original and memorable. High profile Twitter users often use their own names - boring I know but it is for obvious reasons. For example, David and Victoria Beckham (@DavidBeckhamWeb, @victoriabeckham) Lord Alan Sugar (@Lord_Sugar) and even the Queen (not the real Queen obviously, but a spoof page definitely worth visiting) use Twitter to promote their brands and gain extra publicity. They use their pages almost as advertisement billboards. Lord Sugar even puts a list of his books and autobiographies (prices included) running down the side of his page, just in case someone decides they want to purchase the latest update of his life. Avid Tweeter Richard Branson (@richardbranson – of course) provides excellent business information on his page, especially for young and budding entrepreneurs. He often gives links that you can follow to enter into business idea competitions, sponsored by Virgin, which is definitely worth checking out. You can customise your page however you think is best. If you already have a business idea, then don’t be afraid to show it off. Opt for an innovative layout for your page, the more aesthetically pleasing it is, the better.

Facts and Stats 93% of teens aged 13-18 go online everyday

73% of teens are on a social network Once you have established an unforgettable name and page design, it is time to gain followers – the exciting part. The joy of getting your first follower is like the joy of opening your first present on Christmas Day. There are a few ways that you can go about doing this. Obviously, you can get all of your friends to follow you, that’s if they have Twitter too of course. This is a great way of ‘looking popular’ in the Twittersphere. Ultimately, the more followers that you have, the more likely other ‘Tweeters’ will follow you. Once you have amassed a small army, it will be much easier to spread your idea. Another way that you can attract attention, leaving clothes on at all times, is by asking high profile users questions, or even by starting your own debate. However, be careful, and remember that even though we enjoy freedom of speech on social media sites, be tasteful in what you write. Ask insightful questions that you can benefit from and you are more likely to get a reply. It’s all about starting a conversation. Twitter has ‘trending’ topics, which in short is a list of the most popular subjects that are being talked about at that precise moment. That way you can always stay up to scratch with what is going on, and even try and start a trend yourself.

The average teenager has 201 Facebook friends

PUT YOUR PROSPECTUS DOWN Aside from celebrities and business moguls, social media can provide lots of useful information, which is often presented in more accessible, and fun ways. If you are thinking about going to University then you may be familiar with organisations such as UCAS (@ucas_online) and NUS (@NUS_HE), they too have Twitter and Facebook pages that you can visit for advice in bite-sized chunks if you have had enough of trawling through endless leaflets and brochures. Pretty much every University in Great Britain has a Twitter page as well, so put down those hefty prospectuses and see if you can find what you looking for online. Why not even treat yourself to a cup of tea and a cake at the same time. So, the next time you log on to your computer - probably within minutes of reading this - have a quick browse over these sites and see if there are any social media sites that take your fancy. Even if it is just to find out what Biebs is up to, (don’t we all want to know) or what Becks has had for his tea, everything that you could possibly want will be there, and you may find social media useful for creating a page for yourself. After all, social media and social networking is the future, so why not be a part of it?

For the more photo-savvy internet users among you visit for the photo equivalent sites

69% of teenagers use their phones to get online


Apprenticeship success

Joshua Burrell discovered it’s not all builder’s bums and wiring workshops If you’ve just done your GCSE exams or you’re already over 16 and confused about what to do with your life next, you might be thinking of your options more than ever before as the summer approaches. One option available to you is an apprenticeship. Often dismissed as an option for the less smart kids, there is so much more to apprenticeships today than just manual labour and greasy palms. Apprenticeships are where you earn a wage and work with staff to get skills relevant to the workplace. As well as this you receive specific training which includes nationally accepted qualifications. It doesn’t matter if you got bad grades at school or even none at all. An apprenticeship lasts between one and four years depending on level, your ability and which industry you go into. Ed Miliband said this year that: “We must give more respect and value to vocational learning and apprenticeships. Education is critical to our hopes of a fairer society.”

National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) research shows that apprentices earn, on average, over £100,000 more throughout their lifetime than other employees. Money is always nice to have too. £2.60 per hour will be the least you’ll make as an apprentice (from 1st October 2012 it will be £2.65 per hour). This is just a guide and most people earn a lot more. The average wage per week for an apprentice is now around £170. As well as your salary, like other employees, you will also be given at least 20 days’ paid holiday per year and any other benefits with the job. You may also get additional money for essential books, clothing or equipment, or to help you with a disability. Shauni O’Neill, 18, started with an apprenticeship with London Transport. Shauni, the winner of National Apprentice of the Year 2011, said: “My apprenticeship gave me the chance to get hands-on experience in many areas of the business. If I’d gone on to take A-Levels I wouldn’t

Name: April Bell • • • •

have these opportunities. I would be looking to get a loan to go to uni or find a job. As it is I already have a permanent job, have been earning rather than getting into debt and I know that if I continue to apply myself I will progress further at London Underground.” At the end of an apprenticeship you receive an NVQ or other nationally-recognised qualifications that can help you to get other jobs. It’s not only hairdressing or fixing cars either. There are over 200 different types of apprenticeships available with 1,200 possible job roles. Apprenticeships can lead to great careers in the future. Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, TV chef Jamie Oliver and gardener Alan Titchmarsh all started out as apprentices. And with the university fees increases, why not have a look at apprenticeships as an alternative to the debt that university might bring?

Age: 18

She has a Level 2 qualification in floristry and will finish her level 3 this year. Won Retail Apprentice of the Year Award 2011 and met Dragon’s Den’s Theo Paphitis She works at Monica F Hewitt Florist in Sheffield Her goal is to get into management

“I left school at about 13 and had no GCSEs. When I was 15 I went onto a work placement with the florists. At 16 they employed me as an apprentice. I’m starting a management course in June. It’s allowed me to learn in a work environment. It’s definitely better than school where I was in a classroom with 30 other people and didn’t get the one-to-one care and attention. I’ve also managed to get Maths and English qualifications under the Key Skills course included in the apprenticeship. The stuff I’ve been doing has been relevant to the job and it’s given me more confidence.” “The best thing about an apprenticeship is... the learning on the job and being able to do it in the shop.”

Name: Matthew Webster • • • •


Started on a Level 2 Retail Visual Merchandising Apprenticeship He went out to Berlin in 2010 and won an award for the best window display He works in charity shop First in Best Dressed in Sheffield His goal is to get into management and work in a head office.

“I dropped out of college a few months before the end of my original course. I enjoyed it but I started to get bored after a while. I wanted a job but really struggled to find anything because I had no experience. Doing an apprenticeship has been fantastic for me. I’ve been able to do work placements at John Lewis and Debenhams, as well as working at the charity shop. It’s really helped me to build up my CV. I also have a work placement at M&S head office in London lined up. I’ve got really good experience from working in shops. I’ve been able to develop leadership skills as well as teamworking.” “The best thing about an apprenticeship is... you do different things every day and have different opportunities.”


It started eight years ago in a Harvard dorm. Now, it has over world’s population and has made $17.5bn for its founder, Mark

What the future

Newlywed Mark Zuckerberg only turned 28 a few weeks ago, but he is one of the success stories of our generation. His story has also been made into a Hollywood film in the 2010 movie The Social Network, starring Jesse Eisenberg as Zuckerberg and Justin Timberlake as his associate Sean Parker. He has recently added a camera feature to the Facebook family, as you’ve seen on our news page, but what else does Zuckerberg have in mind for Facebook?

Selling shares The university project which was never even meant to become a company has gone public. Since 18 May, Facebook has made the biggest public offering ever made by an internet company. Facebook is offering $16bn worth of shares, which values Facebook at more than $100bn. After the public offering, Zuckerberg will own 22% of Facebook and will retain 57% of the voting power, so he will not lose too much of his business. The public offering has been disappointing, however. Since Facebook’s initial offering of 2.5 billion shares, share prices have dropped dramatically, and Zuckerberg, and other Facebook shareholders, will struggle to get the amount money they wanted. It means U2 frontman Bono, who owns 57.5m shares in Facebook, will lose $342m, according to NME. This will not change how Zuckerberg runs his company. If he started Facebook just for the money, he may have been tempted to sell the website to Microsoft for $15bn in 2007. As he told his old college, Phillips Exeter Academy, during a visit in 2007-

“It’s not because of the amount of money. For me and my colleagues, the most important thing is that we create an open information flow for people. Having media corporations owned by conglomerates is just not an attractive idea to me.” - Mark Zuckerberg 2007 Zuckerberg is also expected to expand his business. Facebook has agreed to buy photo-sharing site Instagram for $1bn after users chose to use it over Facebook’s own photo sharing tools. However, the deal is currently being investigated by the US Federal Trade Commission to determine whether competition laws were being violated. Mark Zuckerberg could also be taking over Viddy, a service that is often described as “Instagram for videos.”


More advertising

To please his new investors, Zuckerberg will be looking at how Facebook can make more money through advertising. Each Facebook user spends on average 15 hours and 33 minutes a month on the site, which is a great opportunity for advertisers. Currently, Facebook monitors users’ ‘like’s and selects advertisements accordingly. This is major part of Facebook’s revenue, making $3bn per year. As more advertising space has been sold on the website, prices for ads have actually gone up. However, Facebook has to be careful not to intrude on the users’ privacy. It is also very easy to ignore the advertisements on the right of the screen - the amount of US users clicking the ads has decreased by 8%. Therefore, Zuckerberg will have to try and use the mass of information at his disposal to revolutionise how Facebook advertises. He may be looking for a way for users to buy products without leaving the Facebook website. He has also designed more features to help advertisers. Facebook recently launched Reach Generator, which distributes updates as ‘sponsored stories’ on the right-hand-side of the homepage or in the users’ news feed. Many advertisers also now have a Facebook account, which gives users updates on their brand, as well as videos and links to their website.

Facebook from making more profit. In early 2012, Facebook introduced ‘sponsored stories’ which are tailored to the users own interests to its mobile apps to help generate profit. Facebook has also promised to “invest heavily in mobile.” Don’t expect the Facebook mobile app to change too much though – the sites’ popularity in India, Indonesia and other parts of Asia is dependent on its mobile version. Too many ads will alienate a growing part of its user base.

Mobile focus Perhaps the biggest opportunity Facebook has to expand is through smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. Over half of Facebook’s 901 million users access the site through mobile devices, but Zuckerberg has acknowledged that they make little or no money from this. The problem is that Facebook on mobiles have little or no space for advertising space. Fixing this could be difficult though – Google and Apple, two of Facebook’s biggest rivals, control the basic software on most smartphones, and they will no doubt want to stop

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg got married this month - sorry girls

900 million users, connects over seven per cent of the entire Zuckerberg. AIM looks at what the site has in store for us next

holds for Facebook

New features - more personalised apps, more privacy concerns

You may have noticed Facebook has changed a lot since you first signed up for an account – well expect that to continue. Facebook may be the biggest social media website in history, but it has to keep up the flow of new users, and keep them glued to the site. The best way Zuckerberg can do this is by introducing new features and keeping the website new and fresh. Facebook was recently introduced a new kind of profile. Timeline allows users to customize their profiles more than before. They can select a cover photo, add life events and place them on a map, and add updates from apps such as Spotify and Netflix. Visitors to a profile can also easily find posts from years ago. However, there has been a backlash from users against Timeline. The biggest worry is that every status update, wall post and photo ever posted since the day you joined Facebook becomes easily searchable to you and your friends, which may turn into a privacy nightmare. The site is also regularly introducing new apps to keep up the influx of new users. Newer apps are more varied and are complimenting users’ interests. For example, if you love to cook, you can add the Foodily app to your timeline and share your latest dishes. If you’re into travelling, you can add the Gogobot and TripAdvisor apps to bring a virtual passport to your timeline. Expect more and more apps to be added to the site in the next year.

Global expansion It may be hard to believe, but Facebook isn’t that big in some countries. The site only launched in Russia in April 2010. Homegrown social media sites such as Vkontakte, Odnoklassniki, and Moi Mir have proved to be more popular, and Facebook ranks fourth among social-networking platforms in Russia. However, the Russian version site has trebled in size over the past year, so there is plenty of potential for growth as it is popular with young professionals, politicians and intellectuals. Facebook is also growing in Japan after a slow start. Since the Japanese version debuted in 2008, the site has faced many cultural barriers. Japanese people are, historically, shy and private and they were initially uncomfortable sharing personal information, or even their names, on the Internet. Homegrown rivals such as ‘community entertainment’ website Mixi and online game platforms such as DeNA allow — and sometimes even require — their users to create new identities. Facebook in Japan has begun to grow recently, however. In February, Facebook had 13.5 million users, up from 6 million a year earlier, and became the top social media site in Japan. The Japanese are overcoming their shyness, it seems. The biggest challenge to the globalisation of Facebook is China. The Chinese government have blocked the site since July 2009, as they are worried that it will promote organised protest, like we saw in the uprisings in the Middle East last year. If the ban is ever lifted, Facebook will also have to compete with homegrown rivals. It will have to compete with Renren and the leading Chinese micro-blogging site Sina Weibo, which is sometimes called ‘the Chinese Twitter.’ Zuckerberg has more than enough reasons to want to expand into China though. The number of Internet users in China - 513 million - exceeds the entire US population, and 307 million Chinese people are expected to use social networks this year, so there is plenty of room to grow. Despite being banned, Facebook has found ways to reach Chinese internet users. It partners with local businesses, such as Beijing-based games maker, and Shanda Games, China’s third-biggest online games firm, to get its foot in the Asian superpower’s backdoor. Zuckerberg’s new wife Priscilla Chan, who he met at Harvard University, is of Chinese descent, so he will be keen to make an impression on the country of her ancestors.

Timeline is just one of the new features Facebook has introduced

How to stay safe on Facebook If you are concerned about Timeline compromising your privacy online, here are a few things you can do1. Limit the audience of your posts The easiest way to stop strangers from viewing your entire Facebook history is to make your posts only visible to your friends, by using one of the site’s privacy settings. You can find the “Limit the Audience for past Posts” option on near the bottom of your Privacy Settings page. 2. Limit the posts by others on your timeline If there are specific people you want to hide from, you can prevent specific people, or lists of people, from viewing your previous posts. To do this, go to your Privacy Settings page, then select “Edit Settings” next to “How You Connect.” Select the drop-down menu next to the last item— ”Who can see posts by others on your timeline?” and choose “Custom.” In the box under “Hide this from,” type the names of the people or the lists that you want to hide your posts from. Then click ‘Save Changes.’ 3. Hide posts manually This works if there are only specific posts you don’t want people to see, but is a time-consuming and boring option if you want to hide a whole year of posts. To do this, you can click on the pencil icon on each post and select ‘hide...’ or ‘delete from timeline’.


Rise to the top of the CV pile Follow AIM’s top tips and your next boss will be practically begging you to come in for a chat... BY ETHAN TELLETT Putting together a great résumé seems like the impossible task. Over-sell yourself and you sound like the Apprentice candidate who fancies themself more than Simon Cowell’s chest hair. Hold back and your modest charm will land you in the boss’s waste paper bin. This month AIM provides you with the tips for CV success that will have you spending less time waiting by the phone and more time impressing your new boss.

PACKAGING PRODUCT ‘YOU’ The tower block of CVs already sitting on every employer’s desk is currently constructed of a black and white, A4 splurge of dull text. It’s a repetitive read of applicants’ opinions, hobbies and interests and the head of recruitment is getting sick of it. The first step to rise to the top is to get noticed. In this pre-interview stage imagine you are a ‘product’ for the employer to buy into. One major aspect of any successful product is the packaging. Here’s how to package product ‘you’... Use a different colour or type of paper. This separates you from the average Joe with his black and white, Times New Roman yawn-fest. Light pink paper is a proven hit and AIM tips Georgia as the font of winners as it’s different, yet sensible. (Note: Make sure to strike the right balance between ‘different’ and ‘quirky’ - nobody wants to come across as a glitter-pen-wielding, Gok Wan wannabee.) Separate fact from opinion. For an employer, the ideal CV would be a one-page fact file of achievements and qualifications. For an applicant it’s a 1000 word essay on how perfect they are. Successful candidates will package themselves to give the reader what they want, and then some. One approach is to use your CV for facts and an accompanying cover letter, personal statement or thank you note for an extra insight into your personality, ambitions and work ethic. Separating and categorising the different aspects to your application not only makes it easier for the reader to navigate around your package, but shows a level


of structure and presentation that will be more than welcome in any workplace.

TOAST THE BOAST You’ve caught the eye of your next boss. Now it’s time to make their jaw drop by letting them know just how brilliant you are. Nobody ever hires the arrogant applicant, but they will often make it to the interview process. This is because the writing of a good CV requires a shameless ability to promote yourself as some sort of divine being whose supernatural abilities will solve any workplace problem. Leave the likeability factor for interviews. At this stage, you are an egomaniac ready to inform any potential employer on just how lucky they are to even be in possession of your mind-blowing CV. List all qualifications and explain how they represent your skills. Having the grades is impressive, knowing what to do with them shows next-level intelligence. It’s no coincidence that you’re good with words, have that A Level in English Language and just so happen to be applying for a job in the media. So shout about the relevance of your skill set. When referring to any previous work or experience, don’t just list accomplishments but explain what those achievements entailed and the duties and responsibilities you were given - you weren’t merely making tea for a week, you were fuelling your workforce with the caffeine-based nutrients for success. Use power verbs. In the CV survival of the fittest, strong candidates haven’t just done stuff, they’ve “implemented strategies” and “strengthened morale”. Sound active and you’re bound to be a hit in the office.

THE REFEREE HOLDS THE CARDS When it comes to CV’s the referee is no longer a middle-aged man in black who spends his weekends taking abuse from everyone within a five-mile radius of his steely whistle. Referees are an important part of the recruiting process because it’s up to them to prove that your CV









Adam read this month’s AIM Mag and now gets to wear his favourite suit five times a week isn’t a pack of lies. We put up with the poor treatment from our previous bosses for this exact reason, now it’s time for them to return the favour and confirm that we’re not kidding when we say how good we are. For the reader, it’s this secondary opinion that will transform your résumé from mere words on a page into a reliable document representing a living, breathing candidate for them to employ. But referees don’t just come in the form of previous bosses. Think outside the box when putting together your list of CV references. It can include anyone willing to say a good word about you, although a phone call to your Auntie Doris probably isn’t of much use to any future employer. Teachers, personal tutors, sports coaches, and scout leaders have all been around to witness you obtain some sort of an achievement. A call or email to any of these people is sure to end up in a rave review from the receiving end of the phone line. It is for this reason that AIM urges you to include the phone numbers and e-mail addresses of a variety of referees at the end of your application.

AVOID THE PILE Of course referees aren’t the only people with e-mail addresses. There will be a way of reaching every boss in the country if you take your CV online. And, whilst their inbox is likely to be as busy as their desk, it can’t hurt to have an online presence in the job market. Employers are turning to job sites more and more frequently in the hunt for ideal candidates. These websites use key words to categorise applications so make sure your ideal employer gets directed to your CV by including words associated with their service.

Refrain from altering your CV to match online requirements. It turns out bosses don’t care if they’re reading off paper or from a screen so there’s no need for the two versions to look any different.

INCLUDE TO IMPRESS We’ve come to the conclusion that you’re practically perfect in every way, and yet this boss is still not convinced? It’s probably because you’re too great, right? Wrong. The cardinal sin of most CV writers is that they focus so much on themselves that the person they initially set out to impress feels excluded from the whole document. Before hiring you, the boss needs to know what’s in it for them. Employers can tell if you’ve sent the same complimentary concoction of autobiographical anecdotes to every available position in town. Your CV needs to seem tailor-made for the job they have advertised. Research the position then re-write your CV from scratch to include skills and achievements that are of benefit to that role. A little extra effort now will be more than worthwhile when you find yourself with a cushy job in the not so distant future. Any picky boss reading your CV will think the world of his business, so it helps if you do too. Whilst very few of us enjoy the application process, it’s a known fact that the UK’s army of job hunters is ever-growing in population. Selling yourself in such a competitive market is a daunting task but obey the above tips and you’re sure to rise to the top of the CV pile.

CV PROFESSIONALS DON’T: ...Write more than one page. The reader is usually pushed for time. Given a thick wad of paper, they’ll start flicking before realising they want someone who is more concise and to the point. ...Make spelling mistakes. They indicate a lack of care in creating your CV. Above all, get the name of the boss right or you’ll find yourself fast-tracked straight to the bin.

...Include a picture of themself. This reeks of vanity and shows you don’t understand the CV format. Employers don’t care what you look like, and if they did they’d make their judgements once you’ve wowed your way into an interview. ...Wait more than a week to hear back. If you pester, you’ll prosper. It’s good to make contact with a potential employer to show you’re keen and, if nothing else, to make sure they received your résumé.


VIVA LA VOUCHERS Not only does AIM provide you with with the best entrepreneurial news, views and advice, we now have great givaways for all our readers.

How to run your firm Starting a business can be difficult, but it can be hugely rewarding. Anthony Hart gives you tips from the best Starting up a business is a tricky thing. You may have a really good idea, but you need more than that. There are logistical hurdles to get over, as well as getting people to back your idea before it even becomes a reality. Theo Paphitis, entrepreneur star of TV series Dragons Den, says there are guidelines to follow if anyone is to make it in business. “Our lives are ruled by rules. If you want to play the game – whether it’s football, cricket or even bridge – you have to learn the rules and play by them.” On the next page you can read Paphitis’ twelve-point plan and how he goes about business. Jamal Edwards, head of youth music site SBTV, said that a strong work ethic is vital if you are to get ahead; “You’re not going to really get anywhere if you don’t put your mind to things so don’t give up. Don’t let anyone tell you anything. Just go for it” The University of Sheffield Enterprise Centre offers business tips and support to the university’s students, as well as a whole load of other initiatives which help to support entrepreneurship. But what are the logistics behind setting up the business? You should think of four main things. Firstly, you need your idea. What are you going to sell? What are you going to offer to the customer? You will also need some money which starts up the business. Some business ideas need little or no capital. Others will need more - if you have a particularly good idea there are a number of schemes which can offer grants of up to a £1,000 to get you on the right track, one notable example being the John Cracknell Award. You also need property of some sort. This could mean a small shop or a large department store. You may also need office space and a warehouse. Thanks to the internet, however, it is possible that you can run online-only businesses from your home or a very small base. And then there is the matter of your workforce. If you are starting off small, then it’s quite likely that you will start alone, then add employees as the business grows. However many you employ, you have to value them and make them feel like an important part of your business. Also, don’t be too concerned if you’re not making a profit straight away. About half of all new businesses fail in the first year, so it’s often just a case of breaking even and surviving in the first 12 months. Having said all this, there is no definitive way to set up a business. Have an idea, use some common sense and work hard. It could work, just like it did for the creator of Innocent Drinks, Richard Reed (pictured) who set up the company along with two friends while he was still at university.


Nicko Williamson (top) and Richard Reed (bottom) are both examples of young people who have successfully started up a business from scratch.

Theo’s twelve golden rules Dragons Den star Theo Paphitis tells AIM how he runs his business Reduce the risk

Embrace change

Start small

“I am a great believer that the risk should reflect the reward. My whole business philosophy is based on a risk-reward ratio. But it’s got to stack up. If it doesn’t, don’t do it. You might as well go to a casino. “If you think you’ve come up with the business idea to end all business ideas, there are just two things you’ve got to ask yourself: what are the risks, and what are the rewards? I never take ridiculous risks. I am the most conservative person you will ever come across, and that’s because I’m good at reducing risks while leaving the potential rewards high.”

“Internet selling means that you don’t need to pay vast high-street rents and employ lots of shop assistants. You can eBay trade. You can have a lock-up and keep your products there. It’s fantastic –everyone can be a shopkeeper. The amount of business being done on the web now is shifting the balance of power. The internet has unshackled the business world.”

“If you’re an entrepreneur and want to start a business, start small. You can start a business on your own or just with a partner or assistant. It’s only when you take on your first member of staff that you’re more than likely to encounter other problems. All of a sudden you’re managing the people as well as the businesses. “Legislation is now so watertight – as well as being complicated and restrictive – that you have to consider everybody’s feelings and requirements.”

Don’t fool yourself “If you have a business idea, honesty is very important. I’m fed up hearing people say, ‘Everybody I have asked thinks my idea is fantastic.’ People say they believe in their ideas. That’s because they have conditioned themselves to believe in them. You have to be honest with yourself about what you are doing. “Then you must ask yourself how commercial it is. ‘Everyone is going to want one,’ they tell me. Well, I don’t want one, so not everyone wants one. ‘I have given this to twenty people and they all said they would buy one.’ How much did they pay you for it? ‘Nothing.’ That’s why they took one. ‘I have done my market research,’ they say. “No you haven’t, you’ve given things away.” Beware of all these ways in which people delude themselves.”

Use common sense “Business is 90 per cent common sense. I apply common sense in all my business dealings. But common sense is not common. If it were, everyone would have it and everyone would be able to do what I do.”

“The first thing I ask store managers when addressing them at such an event is who they think is the most important person in the business. “I have to tell them the answer – and I point to all of them, the workforce. They are the most important people in the business. “Motivating staff is not just about making them feel wanted. Tangible rewards are equally important, if not more so. Incentives go a long way to help staff focus on the work they do.”

Capitalise on other’s ideas

Learn to let go “It’s very difficult for an entrepreneur to let go. It’s very hard to sell a successful business. People sometimes hold on until sometimes the business has no value at all. “You must be able to create something and then sell it at exactly the right time. That’s really hard. I still find it hard. You’ve put so much of your life, your body and soul, into something you have created and nurtured - and then you have to let go. And there is always a right time to sell, because any business goes through ups and downs. Admittedly, at times like now when there is not a great deal of cash around, you might prefer to wait and sit tight but the principle remains the same.”

Get your staff on board

Theo Paphitis has rescued countless failing firms

Make tough decisions One of the things I preach to all my staff is never be frightened to make a decision. If one of those decisions turns out to be wrong, then identify it quickly. There’s no shame in asking others to help you. The shame is in keeping quiet, trying to cover up your bad decision. Rest assured, it will come back to haunt you. Helping each other is what teamwork is all about.

Know that cash is king

Weigh up the opposition

“Cash flow is king. Profit is sanity. Turnover is vanity. A lack of profit is like a cancer. If it carries on for a long time it will eventually kill you.” But a lack of cash is like a heart attack. If you can’t pay the rent you shut down just like you would if your heart packed up. You’re finished. If you can’t pay the wages, it’s all over. Don’t be without cash. You can live without profit but not without cash. It’s very basic and simple advice.”

“You must never underestimate the strength of the opposition. You only have to look around the high street, where some of the biggest names – household names at one time – are no longer with us. One of the problems for these high-street giants is the nature of their tiered system of management, where strategy and communication often get misinterpreted and lost en route to their rightful recipient – a bit like Chinese whispers.”

“I’ll let you into a little secret – despite having made a fantastic living from my business ventures, I’ve never had an original idea in my life. “Always remember that because something is innovative or uses leading-edge technology doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to make pots of money. “But when I do find an idea – always someone else’s that I think will work, I get off my backside and do something about it. That’s the difference between me and so many other people.”

Turn dreams into reality “We all have dreams and without dreams in business I don’t believe you can be successful. The trick is to turn those dreams into reality. “And you have to have passion for that dream. It’s got to be something you’re going to enjoy; otherwise it’s highly unlikely that you will achieve your goal. “You must not, however, fall into the trap of ignoring the facts and deficiencies in your idea. That’s where a lot of people trip up – they lose sight of the bigger picture and ignore the failings of the idea. “Making £100 million is easy. Making your first £1m is the difficult part. You have got to be passionate about your idea. It is imperative that you have an idea you really believe in, and you also have to be absolutely determined you can make it work.”


Putting the ‘you’ in UCAS You’re coming to the end of your school days, and the time is fast approaching when you have to sift through hundreds of hcourses to find the five you fancy. Here’s a guide to the painful process of applying for higher education

Making your five course choices When choosing courses, first decide what your priorities are then pick course which fits Some students choose courses from a career path they have planned, whilst others choose to study something they’re interested in. It is a bad idea to choose a degree based just on employment prospects, because you may end up studying something you don’t have your heart in. Your school may take you to a university fair, where universities will tell you about their courses and campuses. Look at as many different universities as you can, and take a backpack along and bring back loads of free prospectuses.

• Get advice from current students

Ask everyone you know if they know someone who go to universities you are looking at, and see what they say. Another source of student opinion is, which has forums devoted to most universities with students discussing campuses, courses, nightlife, amongst other topics. Current students will give you completely honest advice, whereas the universities will just try and attract you to their courses. Remember, though, that students’ opinions are based on personal experience, and not always fair and objective.

•Play to your strengths

If you are a practical person, or feel you need practical training, try to stay away from courses which involve a lot of reading or seem overly theoretical. If you like to bury your head in books, look for courses which involve a lot of reading. Look at the modules the course offers- do they interest you? Talk to the course leader, either on open days or through e mail. They should be happy to answer your questions.

•Pick your courses wisely

UCAS lets you apply for five university choices to begin with, so you will be able to select a range of different options. While it is tempting to only apply for the top universities, it is a better idea to choose courses which have a range of different entry requirements, so you can guarantee yourself a university place if your A-Level results do not go to plan.

Owning the Interview Some universities may invite you to an interview before accepting you. The most important way to prepare for an interview is to know as much about the university and the course as you can. Also try to show as much enthusiasm for the course as you can bear to. Even if the course is your fifth choice, figure out reasons why you chose their (ahem) wonderful course and university and feign as much interest as possible. The skill of blagging will come in handy here. Spend a bit of time before you go to the interview to wise up on the ‘hot topics’ of the subject, to show you are up to date with current affairs. Look at news articles on the net. Also try and think of some questions for the course leader, to give the impression that you are genuinely curious about their course. Ask how well graduates of the course have done, and what they have gone on to do. This will show you are thinking about your long term future. Another good idea is to take along relevant examples of your work. This will show your initiative and willingness to get noticed. Appearances shouldn’t matter, but you don’t want to be judged for looking scruffy. If you are unsure about the dress-code, play it safe and dress smartly. The worst that could happen is that you turn up better dressed than all the other candidates.


You may have many roads to university open to you

Choosing your universities Decide what you want from a university before you begin and then look for those institutions which meet them. The best way to find out if you like a university is to go along yourself. One of your choices may invite you to an open day. Go along and ask as many questions and see as many campuses as you can. Don’t be afraid to be annoying question your tour guide ruthlessly. If they don’t ask you to an open day, go uninvited and look around as much of the university as you can without trespassing. Ask yourself if this looks like a place you’d be happy to spend three years (or more). Also see as much of the city as possible. Do you like what it has to offer? Is it too lively, or too quiet? Are the campuses in the right part of the city? Universities in a range of cities have different kinds of campuses, so you’re bound to find somewhere you like.

Dazzling personal statements This is where you convince the course leader that you are the best person for their course. Tell them how badly you need this opportunity, and how your whole life has been leading up to enrolling on their amazing course. Sell yourself by listing the many skills, achievements and experience that you can bring to the course. Course leaders will be impressed if you have lofty ambitions about your career aims, but don’t get too ridiculous. They will also want to hear about your hobbies and interests as they will reflect your personality. The three biggest errors you can make on a personal statement are-

1. Sounding fake

Lying about personal experiences, or achievements may come back to bite you, especially if you are invited to an interview. Copying parts of your statement from one you’ve founded online is too much of a risk, as some universities now use software to detect plagiarised applications. If you are caught being dishonest, you stand a good chance of being kicked off the course, even if you get the place.

2. Bad spelling and grammar

If you submit a personal statement with bad spelling or grammar it usually only goes in one place- the bin. If writing is not your strong point, send it to your tutor constantly to get feedback, or get them to help you. You can use spell checker, which will pick up most spelling mistakes, but you should also check for errors by proof reading it. Get someone else to proof read it too, as they may spot something you didn’t.

3. No further interests

If you include no evidence of any interests outside school, you will seem unenthusiastic about the subject. Are there any relevant clubs or volunteering schemes at school you can join? Also, try to arrange at least one relevant work experience placement, as that will really show you are interested.

Inside The Business Hub Of Corporate London In times of economic crisis, it’s the City suits who bear the brunt of the nation’s outcries. We all point the finger towards Canary Wharf, but what is it that Britain’s money-men actually do? BY ETHAN TELLETT We’ve all seen its skyline in The Apprentice build-ups, we’ve all heard the politicians shifting the blame in its direction, and read the thousands of newspaper inches devoted to demonising its conglomerates. And yet this constant bombardment informing us of its importance has led us all to the same conclusion: Canary Wharf is the playground for the people who really run this country. Worryingly, this acceptance has not turned into awareness. With many of us still unsure as to how our capital city is run, AIM takes a look behind those privatised office doors to talk you through all things corporate in London.

THE WHARF In just over thirty years since its creation, the offices of Canary Wharf have eaten up almost 15 million square feet of The Borough of London’s hallow turf and now plays home to the employers of over 90,000 corporate executives.

A week in the life of a London Fund Manager

Scott Goodsir is a Fund Manager at BNY Mellon. MONDAY: The day officially starts at 8:30am, but Scott has been up for hours already. He gets to the office for 7:30am


and looks over the weekend’s events. All major stories are addressed in the morning’s meeting and Scott is assigned any stories surrounding Glencore-Xstrata merger. It’s the most exciting news of the weekend, apparently. TUESDAY: The morning is spent compiling reports for the team’s next ‘away-day’ – when the whole department meets away from the hectic office and all the distractions that come with it.

Fortunately, the Fund Manager role is not all work and no play. Scott spends lunch at a colleague’s house where tea, cakes and, of course, the latest company affairs are enjoyed by all. WEDNESDAY: Back to the boardroom today to face a grilling from four demanding chief executives, each representing BNY Mellon’s most loyal clients. Four high-profile meetings is enough to tire out even

There are as many impressive facts about this part of East London as there are suits strutting its streets, and equally as many alarming ones. At its peak, Canary Wharf was in the midst of a banking boom that turned London into the most powerful financial centre in the world. Since then, it has become one of the most high-profile victims of the recession. With the nation’s wealth appearing to ride on events within “The Wharf”, it’s no wonder we are always being told of its importance. The veneer remains as white, and as false, as the receptionist’s smile that greets you in the lobby. But whilst these towers glisten in the southern sunlight, a blemish has stained the reputation of corporate London. When the recession was at its worst, it was reported that the property within Canary Wharf had amounted outstanding debts of £60 billion – a quarter of the whole of the UK’s £240 billion property debt.

THE LIFESTYLE The economic crisis was born out of a corporate lifestyle that revolved around extravagance and lavishness that had bankers all over London blowing their bonuses at the finest restaurants and bars in town.

the most experienced of businessmen. It’s nearly midnight before Scott’s back home and prepping for the following day’s work at the office. THURSDAY: A busy week has left Scott behind schedule with regards to Monday’s merger task. Today is spent at the desk trawling through websites and blogs for any news that may give BNY Mellon the edge. It’s days like these that leave the Fund Manager

‘In the recession Canary Wharf had amounted debts of £60 billion - one quarter of the UK’s property debt.’

With the turn of the millennium, the dot com boom helped to pump money into a system that worked to make the rich, richer. The London of the naughties was reminiscent of the Mad Men sixties. Meetings were laid back and clocking off became an increasingly early part of the daily schedule. How the mighty have fallen. In 2009, David Cameron called for “a day of reckoning” that would punish the reckless bankers that had brought Britain to its knees. Whilst the tabloids still suggest that the corporates are resting on their laurels, or sitting on their pay cheques, spending a week in the life of a Fund Manager has proved to AIM that there is some degree of grafting taking place up in the offices of Canary Wharf. The mighty may have fallen, but they’re back on the up. And they need to be because the future looks rather hectic for individuals working in the corporate sector.

sponsorship deals to be brokered, corporate professionals may just leave Britain’s recession in the dust in Bolt-like fashion. The concern is that, in returning the nation to its pre-recession heyday, the bankers will start spending their new-found bonuses at the bars and restaurants surrounding Canary Wharf once more. The cycle looks a repetitve one; good economy followed by bad economy followed by good economy. But the key is for the experts who work in savings to start saving. The same goes for the rest of the corperate sector for that matter. As the next generation, AIM is calling on you to change the face of our corporate sector. Its exclusive and extravagant past has only ever drawn criticism from the newspapers and politicians. Instead, Canary Wharf needs to be opened up and displayed as the thriving business hub that it has the potential to be.

THE FUTURE East London is the place to be in 2012. The state of Britain is in no way comparable to that of the rest of Europe, where the Euro is suffering drastically. And, in stark contrast to the riots of last summer, the Olympics are expected to make July and August a time of festivities and, hopefully, celebration. The Games are sure to improve the mood in Canary Wharf. With increased tourism and international

For more information on corporate London, Canary Wharf and the credit crunch, visit the AIM website at:

wishing he didn’t have an office job. FRIDAY: The day is spent cramming in and ticking off the last of the week’s to-do list. Glencore’s merger weighs heavy on Scott’s shoulders until an “early” knock-off time of 8pm. SATURDAY: With Saturday designated as the official day off, Scott spends the day training his latest investment: Caesar’s Rocket. The Goodsirs’ greyhound runs its first

race in a few weeks time and they’re sure they’re onto a winner. It appears that where there’s money to be made, you’ll find a Fund Manager. SUNDAY: Ironically, ‘the day of rest’ means getting back to business for Scott. He reads over the Sunday newspapers in search of anything that may crop up in tomorrow’s morning meeting, where the routine starts all over again.



In this regular feature, AIM profiles four young people who have risen to the top through simple ideas, a little money and a bit of inspiration Jake Nickell

T-shirt tycoon Jake Nickell

Jake Nickell made his fortune through – an online community which gives artists the chance to have their designs printed on clothing and other accessories. Jake started the website with his friend Jacob DeHart and $1,000 of their own money in November 2000. Two years later, he had quit his full time job at electronics store CompUSA and dropped out of Illinois Institute of Art to focus on the website. Artists submit around 1,000 designs to each week, and are put to a public vote. The staff reviews the top-rated designs at the end of each week, and choose 10 designs to print on their products. Artists whose work is printed receive $2,000 in cash and $500 in Threadless gift cards, and a further $500 every time their work is re-printed. Threadless keep the rights to the designs on clothing, but artists own the rights to their designs everything else. They also print designs on a kids range, an exclusive monthly range and bags. In 2007 Threadless had its first store in Chicago, and featured on the cover of Inc. Magazine as ‘The Most Innovative Small Company in America’ in 2008. Jake is now reported to be worth $50 million, and he is only 31.

Andrew Gower

Andrew Gower set up computer games company Jagex, who are perhaps most famous for the popular online role-play game Runescape. Nottingham-born Gower went to Cambridge University, where he set up the company and wrote Runescape with his brother James. The first version was released in 2001, and now has servers located all around the world which can host up to 270,000 players. Games had always been a passion of Gower’s. From an early age he created video games from his bedroom. In 2010 Gower left Jagex’s board of directors and gave up his holding in the company. He has now set up his own gaming development and consultancy holding company, Fen Research, of which he is the majority shareholder. Now 33-years-old, Gower was at one point regarded as the 11th richest young entrepreneur in the UK, and has also been a regular in the Sunday Times Rich List since 2007. He is worth about £100 million.

Susan Gregg- Koger

Fashionista Susan Gregg- Koger

Game boy Andrew Gower

Susan Gregg was just like any other 17-year-old heading off to university when the dilemma of deciding what to pack triggered the idea that would turn her into a millionaire. Wading through her wardrobe, a young Gregg came to the conclusion that she simply owned too many clothes. But rather than bin the threads, the business savvy (and money scrounging) student took her one-of-akind vintage dresses and shoes online. Susan, now called Gregg- Koger since she got married, runs the website with her high school sweetheart Eric. With over 100 employees, and 2 million hits a month, ModCloth has sold over $500 million worth of vintage clothing in the last nine years and represents more than 300 independent designers. is now leading the way in online shopping with an innovative ‘Be the Buyer’ aspect to its website that’s attracting millions of shoppers from around the world. In January 2011, Eric Koger and Susan Gregg-Koger had a reported estimated worth of $15million plus revenue.

Matthew Conridge He started his first business when he was 22 years old with just £450 to his name. He now runs Mamka Ltd. selling outdoor equipment, toys and games online. He built the business up from a garage and thirty products to where it is today, selling over 1,000 product lines in a large warehouse. He has also runs a number of other companies, now employing 15 members of staff. His next company is going to be selling sweets and confectionery. He couldn’t get money from the bank to start his business initially, and friends and family were unable to help him out. In the last five years he has made over £2.45 million. In April this year he was announced as chairman of Tiverton Town football club, making him one of the youngest chairmen in football. He has won business awards and wants to make his football team profitable in over next few years too. Matthew aims to be earning £11million a year by 2015 and he’s still only 27.

On the ball - Matthew Conridge



Words: Anthony Hart


Britain’s got talent, but not on your TV This month AIM sinks it’s teeth into TV talent contests, and finds they are more like the old circus freak shows The X-Factor. Britain’s Got Talent, The Voice. Take your pick. Every year this bargain bucket television appears on our screens, gets people whipped up into a frenzy and launches one lucky winner to fame, fortune and success. Prospective winners would be forgiven for thinking that the long-trousered saviour that is Simon Cowell is providing them with a surefire fast-track to success. It isn’t like that.

Thousands of people enter these reality TV shows each year, yet in a decade of the X-Factor and Pop Idol how many people have actually got anything out of it? I can count three people – Alexandra Burke, Will Young and Leona Lewis – who have been successful off the backs of these shows. The rest who have a claim they have achieved something, quite frankly, haven’t. They have faded into obscurity and nobody knows their name. Nobody watches these people because they are in awe of their talents. They watch to see a holistic vocal coach declare that she is a person, and not a number, before screaming and shouting in the name of music, money and, most importantly, fame. They watch to see a ‘bubbly’ (codeword for ‘a little overweight’) couple put in a tone deaf performance before one of them backslaps the other in the face. They watch to see two lads from Darlington who claim to be “better than Jesus” do something vaguely sexual to Kelly Rowland which I would be ashamed to do after seven pints in a grotty nightclub. People aren’t watching contestants on the X-Factor because they want to see them become successful. They’re watching the modern day equivalent of a circus freak show. If there were no TV cameras, this would be a form of bullying. Those who embark on a musical career after it aren’t usually appreciated purely for their talents. They’re often marketed as an ‘X-Factor finalist’ or an ‘X-Factor reject.’ They’re lovingly mocked, but mocked nonetheless. That lucrative contact for the winner may not set you up for life either. Former winner Matt Cardle was this month dropped by his record label. Goodness knows what the future holds for him, maybe he can go back to being a painter or a decorator or wherever he did before he was a C-list celebrity. Joe McElderry, who won in 2009, was also dropped after being flavour of the month. And there are those who only get to the finals. These souls tend to fall of the face of the earth. Any albums they try and release usually get panned by critics (2008 finalist Eoghan Quigg’s self-titled album was described as the “worst thing ever made” by The Guardian). And Eoghan’s one of the lucky ones. Most former contestants are now performing in Stourbridge, Yeovil and Burnley. Their dreams of stardom all but over. And the media’s obsession with these shows is an


absolute joke. I suppose by writing this article AIM are just as guilty as everyone else, but it’s amazing how the results of a TV show seem to take precedence over more important events. Ten dead in a car crash? Collapse in the economy? War in the Middle East? Childhood poverty? No, they can all play second fiddle to who got the highest number of votes on a TV programme. Even the more “high-end” reality TV shows aren’t exactly measures of success. Why is Dancing on Ice successful? Very few people seem interested in watching the best ice skaters in the world, yet millions will watch celebrities make a complete hash of it. And of course according to the ‘great’ British public, Pudsey the Dog is now the single most talented thing in the country at the moment. Yes, that is right. A dog. I don’t want to sound snobbish, but I do question whether these voters are the group of people I really want to even try and impress in the first place. These people are also probably amused by shiny objects. Success should be no quick fix. It takes time, effort and determination. If you fancy yourself as a musician, do it because you enjoy it, not for money and fame. Do yourself a favour and do something more productive with your life than chasing dreams on the X Factor. You have the potential to be so much more than a circus freak.

The diginifed guide for musical maestros Go to an open mic session

There should be one near where you live and get to perform tracks and hopefully get noticed by someone in the music industry.

Send demo tapes around Record companies, venue managers and music journalists are good targets. You may get ignored but don’t give up. Eventually you could make a breakthrough and get noticed.

Use the internet There are many ways to get your music noticed through social media. Arctic Monkeys fans traded their early demos on Myspace, and they were household names before they released their record-breaking first album.

Don’t be a big mouth Viva Brother said last year they would be ‘the biggest band in the world.’ A critically-panned album and a wave of ridicule later, they split up. Don’t go the same way.

The XL Factor of this hopeful due didn’t cut it for Cowell and Co.


This month, AIM shows you how mixing business with pleasure can put you ahead of the rest Does the thought of digesting more bowls of academia at University make you feel queasy? AIM might have that indigestion tablet of information that you have been looking for... SHARPEN YOUR SKILLS A gap year is the perfect time to gain the experience that all future employers are looking for. Having the brain of Einstein isn’t enough these days to secure that all important job. You need more. Leaving school and sliding straight into a university career is the conveyor belt scenario that most students sign themselves onto. Here’s how to avoid being the next scanand-pack. Gain that experience in another country. We have found ourselves in a climate where jobs are harder to come by than a jackpot win. Internships that specialise in certain subjects are available, but will come at a small price. If you want to go to university at some point, but have no idea if what you want to study will be right for you, then an internship will point you in the right direction. Hoards of companies offer tasters into specific field of jobs. The future


doctors among you may consider Medforce. Companies like Medforce (http://www.medforce. info/) offer placements from two weeks up to six months in Ghana and Fiji to name a few, where you can medically assist professionals in hospitals and clinics. Delivering a baby first hand just might help you to figure out if medicine is for you. Couldn’t think of anything worse than doing that A-Level in General Studies? Associations like Medforce also do elective schemes that enable you to become a Medforce volunteer and gain UCAS points at the same time. Projects abroad ( has something for nearly everyone. If you have dreams of becoming a journalist, a lawyer, a teacher, or even the next Lara Croft, Projects abroad offers a huge number of internships that you can dabble in. Want to gain that all important experience, but just aren’t ready to fly the nest? Don’t worry, there are companies that offer internships in the UK that are accredited all over the world. If you aren’t quite ready to leave Mum and Dad’s comfy abode, but want to have a peek at what is

out there, look into doing an internship (http://www. Even if you aren’t at the stage where you are thinking about university, most internship companies recruit just for the summer. So if you are bored of wasting your summer holidays away, boost your skills and experience whilst having a good time.

BUILD UP THE BANK With the price of tuition fees trebling to £9000 a year, it is worth noting that as well as the tons of this ‘experience’ malarkey that is promised with a gap year, lots of companies also hand out cash in return for your hard work. As mentioned, internships sometimes come with a price tag. If you don’t have a few full piggy banks to hand then you will probably want an alternative. Volunteer work is up there on the employer’s top ten list of employable traits. Raleigh International (www. recognises the fact that not everyone is born into Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s

...With the job market being as competitive as GB’s 2012 Olympic squad, a year out of education might sound like a waste of time. Think of a gap year and you immediately conjure up images of spending a year perfecting that golden tan that you are after. Think again. Hard earned results could be life changing

A little bit of hard work never hurt anyone super-baby status. Not everyone has had a solid gold rocking horse growing up, so they offer a financial helping hand. They offer bursaries to people aged 17-24, helping them to get on their way to making a difference in India, Borneo, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. If you are eligible then it is a great way to make a change in the world, without leaving you in the red. Volunteering not you cup of tea? Fancy making your own money after sponging off the parents for the last however many years of your life? Pile up the pennies by working abroad. If you know what you want to do in the not so distant future yet still fancy taking some time out to nurture your existing skills, working in a challenging environment could put you to the test. BUNAC ( offers a variety of roles in

summer camps in English speaking countries such as the USA, New Zealand and Australia. It charges around £500 to cover interviews, insurance, flights, food and accommodation in return for a salary of around $800-$1300 (£470-£790) for a two-month working period. Callum Kennedy from BUNAC promotes taking a bit of time of in saying it will be beneficial to your future. Real Gap ( understands that costs can put people off taking a gap year. That is why they offer well paid jobs and unforgettable working experiences all over the world, as well as a range of credible qualifications that you can take home with you. It would be a gap year well worth investing in and well worth putting on your CV when you get back to the UK. It will give employers hard hitting proof that you are a superstar worker who isn’t afraid to have a bash at doing something new, as well as earning a buck along the way.


Culture Vulture Another way to add to that skill set of yours is to learn a different language. If you can dazzle your future employers with the ability to converse in another tongue then you are three times more likely to be employed than your average English-speaking Eddie. Learning a whole new language in one year sounds impossible, but it can be done. The best way to go about this is to immerse yourself into another culture. Firstly, choose which one you want to tackle. Alongside this, think about which will benefit you the most when it comes to how you will use it in the future. Being able to speak another language will boost your career prospects and open a window full of opportunity. Speaking French for example won’t limit you to just being able to travel to France, countries all over the world speak French as their mother tongue. Think big. Once you have figured out your future dialect, think about how you can surround yourself with the language. Close to home options include picking up a job in the local Italian restaurant. Spend a year serving spaghetti carbonaras whilst feeding off the Italian language (and pizza) that is all around you. Even if at the start, you just learn the basics, that sets you up with a good foundation to build on. A language is a growing puzzle. If you only learnt a phrase a day, that would be 365 Italian phrases more than you knew at the beginning of the year. Just make sure that your manager is a true Giuseppe, and not just Rob from down the road. If you are after more of a challenge, then once again, it is time to pack up your suitcases and jump on the next flight out of here. It goes without saying that moving to another country will increase your chances of successful language learning. There are a few ways you can go about this. Native English speakers are a sought after breed when it comes to the world of being an ‘au pair’ offers jobs in over 150 countries all over the world. Imagine that you are a babysitter that never goes home after a night of sitting around watching the TV and eating the house out of its food, that is essentially the role of an au pair. You will become an extended member of a host family, looking after their children and doing the odd bit of washing and cleaning, in return for a place to stay and a taste of their culture. Depending on where you choose to go, the host families generally have a good knowledge of the English language and want their children to be surrounded by it on a day-to-day basis. While your main priority is to take care of their little niño, you will also be granted plenty of free time to explore your country of choice, make new friends or take extra language classes. It is the perfect chance to help someone else out whilst benefiting from all that they have to offer at the same time. If the sound of babysitting gives you the chills, then there are still other options. A good way to spend six months or more is to do a ski season. Don’t worry if you don’t ski or snowboard, working a season is the

Yah p a G r M perfect excuse to get some lessons in. Ski resorts in Europe and North America offer a huge range of jobs between the months of September and April, when the snow is heavy. Like I said, if you don’t ski or snowboard, that is not a problem, other jobs include chalet hosting, bar/ hotel staff and resort staff. Although your job will be abroad, most of the companies that operate the seasons are based in the UK, so all of the boring administration stuff will be in English so no need to panic about not being able to apply easily. It won’t be until you hit the slopes that you will need to crack out your best attempt at a foreign language. advertise their jobs at the end of the summer ready to leave to go to your country of choice by late September/early October. So as well as getting buns of steel, you will be getting access to languages such as French, German and the posh way that ‘gap yearers’ speak. Spanish and getting paid all at the same time. What The gap year is a rare opportunity to take a little bit more could you ask for? Earlier on this "Taking a well-planned 'mini of time out from institutional life and think about what it is that you want to do, before year, you may have gap' between late May and plunging into adult life. stumbled upon September is really beneficial in Pick a challenge that is guaranteed to build Orlando Charmon, terms of personal development your excellence and draw out skills that you the brains behind and adding vital skills to your didn’t know you had. Remember that taking the YouTube video, ‘Gap Yah’. He CV, especially in the current job some time out doesn’t have to mean taking time off. depicted the ‘Gap market" - BUNAC After all, putting those books down for a Year’ as being a year could benefit you in the long run, and time where students from the UK travel to the corners did I mention all of that ‘experience’ that you will of the Far East to vomit all over the third world. His reap? stereotype, although amusing, bears no witness to Visit for real life how your time out could be. To have a look at how your gap year shouldn’t be you can watch Orlando’s gap year stories and experiences posted by our video on Youtube under the title ‘Gap Yah’ - refering to readers.

You are 3 times more likely to be employed if you speak another language


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Your views on the June issue. Keep them coming in, we love to hear what you think.

Letter of the month

After spending the last seven years at school, it seems as though they force you into going into higher education. It wasn’t until I picked up AIM on the bus last month, that it dawned on me that I can choose to do anything that I want to. I haven’t always been the brightest of pupils and the thought of going to University scares me. I feel a lot happier after reading last month’s edition, knowing that there are other options out there. I hope other people who feel the same as I did read the magazine so that they aren’t worried about their future.

Monika, 18, Sheffield

Green fingers

I hate reading and never buy books or magazines. I’ve had an idea for a gardening business that I’ve wanted to start with a few friends for about a year now but we had no idea how to get it started. After picking up AIM on the bus and flicking through, I saw the thing you guys wrote about starting up your own small businesses. The tips were great and with some money from our parents we’re now going to start doing the gardens in our area this summer to earn some extra money. Adam, 16, Swansea

Job success

Your story about best and worst part-time jobs really inspired me. I went to my high street with a load of CVs and managed to get myself a job. The people I work with are great and the 20% staff discount helps too! Thanks AIM. Stephen, 17, Bristol

Back in the game

I stopped going to school because it bored me and I didn’t get on with many other kids. Reading the April magazine has made me want to get back into education and I’m thinking more about my future. No more lazing around the house for me. Lizzy, 16, Nottingham

Remember that you don’t have to put your name on the letter but if you do we can include you in the magazine

YOUR TWEETS I have decided to go to University after reading the feature. Thank you for your help AIM! @joshbbb OMG I have got my first job working over the summer. Big thanks to @ AIMmonthly. @alithecrow Can’t stop looking at the AIM website. Best thing to do on a boring day at school! @lauraloo On the bus reading AIM on the way to college. Great read! @littleem Just downloaded the AIM app, already used it five times in the last hour, oops @jezzak

Send us a letter! We want to hear about you. Write to AIM at AIMmail, 6-8 Minalloy Street, Sheffield, S10 JNL; or email:


Top Ten Dragons’ Den It’s the TV show that promises riches and rewards in exchange for your business idea. With millions watching at home, centre-stage at the Dragons’ Den is an unforgiving place as Britain’s brightest business bods sit in silence, waiting to pounce on your wavering pitch. Best not mess up then... and smiling as he revealed a table of 1. Suited glistening awards alongside his brainchild, Very

Unimpressed by the book’s poor sales figures, Deborah Meaden said: “If you think you’re getting an investment from me you are living in a fantasy land.”

PC owner Peter Hopton from Sheffield sure looked the part and talked a great game. In a pitch packed with boasts of “the world’s most energy efficient computer equipment” and “major national and international awards”, Very PC was presented Very well. The downfall of this IT wiz? Peter Jones. Peter vs Peter. The Dragon devoured his guest in the Den. After proving Very PC was not the most energy efficient computer system in the world, Jones concluded that the business before him was, in fact, “averagely crap.”

satisfied with the standard PC set up 8.Not used by millions worldwide, Nick Nevercott presented his multi-media coffee table, Stealth Tabletop, to the Dragons. Building touch-screen computers flat against a table was the idea nervous Nick had spent his whole life’s earnings working towards. When he confessed to the Dragons that he was in the process of selling his house to back the project, the young entrepreneur was told by Theo Paphitis: “Do not waste your life on this.” Showing less sympathy, a brutal Bannatyne added: “I would not invest in you if it was the last investment I could ever make.”

Cousins believed he’d strike gold 2.Derek when he entered the Den with a road safety invention that had drivers across the country fearing for their lives. Using LED effects to warn of oncoming traffic, Flow Signals was the business with no market strategy and no way of making money. “Something needs to be done but the lady who runs the signs and signals doesn’t like the idea.” said Derek. Within seconds he’d heard the words “I’m out” from all five Dragons. Still adamant that his ‘sticking-flashing-lights-topoles’ idea was ingenious, Derek left the show with Duncan Bannatyne’s “Worst Invention Ever To Be Brought To The Den” Award. you’re going to ask me for a business plan 3.“Ibutknow it would only be a load of nonsense. I haven’t got a clue.” - Just one of the many clangers in an unusual pitch from UV Body Sculpture’s Glen Harden. Displaying utter passion and belief in his tan-assisting invention, the frank-talking father-of-four admitted to doing no market research and told how the UV sheets had been collecting dust in his brother’s garage for the last 14 years. Probably should’ve left them there, eh Glen?

“I know you’re going to ask for a business plan but I haven’t got a clue.” was the Dragons’ Den 4.Layline failure that had Peter Jones and Theo Paphitis tucked up in bed together. With the Dragons testing one of the worst products in the Den’s history, John Foster-Smith and Roz Adams claimed that a sheet which divides your double bed in half was the invention that every unhappily married couple needed in their lives.


An entrepreneur has their brain picked by the Dragons Adding to the awkwardness was the fact that John and Roz entered the Den as a couple! Tomnay appeared on series three of 5. Gerard Dragons’ Den with his “new” business: The Knowledge – a premium rate telephone company that tells you how to get around London. Clearly trapped in the 1920’s, Gerard opened his pitch by stating: “If you want to know the time, you ask a policeman. And if you want to know where things are in London, you ask a cab driver.” Now pitching in a world of iPhones and sat-navs, he sounded ridiculous. Add to the mix a faulty demonstration and you’re left with an angry Theo Paphitis claiming he’d rather pass a kidney stone than invest. sexist comment was all it took for Jude 6. One Camplin and Chrissie Shaw to scupper any chance they had of an investment from the Dragons. In addressing the catastrophic error of combining their business plans, Theo Paphitis kindly told the pair that he’d “keep it simple”. Unfortunately, women’s activist, Jude, saw this as the perfect opportunity to quip: “Please do. We are women.” Queue a shot of a seething Deborah Meaden, and a palm to the face from the millions watching at home. cinema screens nationwide showing film 7.With adaptations of our most beloved books, Denise Channing thought she could cash in on the action. The problem? Where Rowling had succeeded, Channing failed. Nobody loved her book. ‘Dance of the Goblins’ was a flop in the book charts. And due to legal restrictions, American Denise was unable to name any of the actors linked with her lucrative project.

Robert Leeds and Guy Seamore entered the 9.When Den it was a case of asking for too much, too soon. “If you think you’re getting an investment from me you are living in a fantasy land.” Yet to prove that their £700,000 Subeo submarine even works, the duo demanded £1.45 million for 45% of their business model – a business model which would only generate £350,000 over the next four years. Sensing a lack of return on any potential investment, Duncan Bannatyne annihilated the pair who willingly agreed with the Scot’s damning verdict. James Caan summed up his dilemma perfectly: “Guys, the problem is you don’t know what you’re talking about.” A controversial inclusion in our top ten as he did 10.walk away with an investment from two Dragons, but James Seddon makes the cut thanks to a catalogue of errors in presenting his product. In demonstrating the water-free egg cooker, this pitch wasted 15 minutes of the Dragons’ time and presented a prototype that failed to produce on three separate occasions. Despite cracking under pressure, James is living proof that the Dragons will shell out on a bright idea, even if it leaves you with egg on your face.

For a YouTube playlist of our Top Ten Dragons’ Den Epic Fails, visit the AIM website at: See you next month for our top ten ways to spend your first million.

AIM Monthly  

A pilot magazine about education, entrepreneurship and long-term life success. Created by Ethan Tellett, Matt Discombe, Kelly Dobson, Anthon...

AIM Monthly  

A pilot magazine about education, entrepreneurship and long-term life success. Created by Ethan Tellett, Matt Discombe, Kelly Dobson, Anthon...