THE MAJORITY of 18 year olds have spent the last few months focused on the most important exams of their lives. But two students in Horsham have also become company directors at the same time as revising for their A-levels, after launching their new business, Recyclabook Limited.
Earlier this year, Tom Williams and James Seear from Haywards Heath, won the first Young Start Up Talent competition, winning a £50,000 prize of business services.
The entrepreneurial contest challenged youngsters in the Gatwick Diamond to make their business dreams a reality, by pitching to a team of high profile judges from the sub-region’s business community.
Of the scores of 16 to 21 years olds who entered, Tom from Christ’s Hospital and James who goes to The College of Richard Collyer, impressed the judges the most with their proposal to recycle used text books.
Recyclabook offers students the chance to recoup some of expense of their school books by selling them at the end of the academic year. New students then get the chance to buy the same books but at a discounted rate, saving them money, whilst still generating a a healthy operating profit for Recyclabook.
So what’s its been like for James and Tom since winning Young Start Up Talent and actually putting their ideas into action? “Manic, but fun,” said James, speaking after their exams had finished. “All the PR stuff was pretty nuts, the BBC was fun, the media storm was good.”
The £50,000 prize included the assistance of numerous companies and individuals in the Gatwick Diamond, which has helped put Recyclabook of a sure footing from the start. “It’s great to run things by people who have experience,” said James, with Tom adding that help with ‘all the red tape on business, and the legal stuff’ has probably been the most valuable element of the package.
Thanks to free advice from YST judges Mark O’Shea from Rawlinson & Butler legal practice, and Matt Tyson of Richard Place Dobson chartered accountants, James and Tom are now joint partners, listed at Companies House.
“This is not something that we would have probably done this year,” said Tom. “We would never sit down with lawyers and accountants and go through how the company is going to be formed, how the shares work.” But now this is done, the pair are very proud: “It feels great being this young and having a limited company. Our certificate of corporation is framed!”
Matt Turner of Creative Pod, who along with Lorraine Nugent of Media Word Waves created YST, has also ensured Recyclabook’s image and branding is sorted. The company has a new logo, designed to be attractive to students, but also to inform of its green credentials.
With the help of Fast Signs, Recyclabook now has branded drop off boxes in nine colleges in the area including Collyers in Horsham and at Sussex Central College sites in Haywards Heath and Crawley. But students can also send their old books to the company direct, and in the process receive approximately £6 per title. Visit recyclabook.co.uk for more details.
James and Tom also urge students to bring their text books along to results days later in the summer where Recyclabook will be arranging collections. Of course James and Tom are also awaiting their results for A-levels Maths, History, and Economics, and Maths, Business, and Economics respectively. Both intend on going to university this year, which for them ‘is the next big step’ – but for their business. James said: “We are already setting up models, ready for the future, so we can really embrace new markets like universities.”
Matt Turner, co-creator of YST said: “I feel very proud of both Tom and James and would like to congratulate the boys as they have come such a long way since I first met them in October last year. They have taken onboard all the challenges they have been faced with, we were all particularly proud when they were interviewed on BBC World News and BBC 5 Live. I have been most impressed on how they have taken their initial ideas and further developed the concept.”
YST is launching for its second year on July 22. If you have an idea for a business, are aged 16-21, and live, study or work in the Gatwick Diamond, enter for your chance to win a £50,000 prize. Visit www.youngstartuptalent.co.uk for full details.