Young East End entrepreneur launches global speakers business
PUBLISHED: 12:18 21 March 2011
As youth unemployment soars one East Ender is hoping to buck the trend – by setting up his own networking business and taking it around the world.
Sabirul Islam set up his first business aged just 14 and now, six years on, he is heading a team of 16 to 25-years who will travel from Belgium to Sri Lanka, speaking to young people about setting foot into the workplace.
But motivational speaking is just one of the strings to the East Ender’s bow.
The 20-year-old, from the Isle of Dogs, published his own book which has sold more than 40,000 copies, took up a work experience placement on the trading floor with Merrill Lynch in New York and had his own web design company.
He said: “I grew up in a part of Tower Hamlets where there was a lot of violence and drug taking. I want to show young people living in a deprived community they can still do something with their life.”
It all started when Mr Islam saw his cousin making £60 by selling calendars to teachers at school.
He wanted a piece of the action but ended up getting fired by his cousin – who himself was only 14 – and so started his own web design business.
The plucky youngster got together six friends and approached investment banks.
Merrill Lynch was so impressed with the group, they let them present their idea to employees.
The boys ended up making £2,000 in their first week.
Mr Islam, who went to Swanlea School in Whitechapel, has now spoken at hundreds of schools and colleges in the UK and abroad and lured in corporate sponsors for his business.
His latest challenge, called Teen Speakers, has 25 UK and 25 international speakers on board, many of them fellow entrepreneurs the young East Ender met on his trips.
“My vision is to inspire other young people to become an entrepreneur,” he said.
In this tough jobs market, it is the sort of attitude that many school-leavers are going to need.