Alumni: Alex Broadley Listed in TransferWise’s Top 20 Young Entrepreneurs
Alex has been listed in TransferWise’s '20 Under 20' shortlist of young entrepreneurs following the launch of his online store, Small Wallets. We speak with Alex about the competition, his career ambitions, and how studying at Bede's led him to discover a passion for business.
You must be thrilled to have been shortlisted – can you tell us a bit about your experience of the competition?
I launched my new website in June, and within a few weeks I received an email from a PR company representing TransferWise who said they were staging a competition looking for the brightest 20 under-20 young entrepreneurs in the UK and Ireland. I thought, why not enter? I had nothing to lose, so I submitted a short video of why I should be chosen. I wasn't really expecting to hear further but a few weeks later I received an email to say I had been selected as one of the top 20.
I was then invited to attend an event at TransferWise's London offices with all the other winners. It was really interesting meeting fellow entrepreneurs, some even more successful than myself. This has led me to work even harder.
Where did the idea for Small Wallets come from?
Last year, my father and I found a new style of wallet at a London Trade Fair and decided to stock the brand at our family business. Within a few weeks we had great success in store, showing that lots of people are looking for a smaller and lightweight wallet that fits in their pocket but holds everything they need.
So at the beginning of this year I decided to create my own online store specialising in small wallets. I had great fun designing the website and working with a designer to create an iconic logo. I then sourced other various wallet brands which all have unique features.
You are currently studying Business Entrepreneurship at Falmouth University - what are your favourite parts about the course?
This is very much a ‘hands on’ course, and I have become more organised and learnt a lot to further my business knowledge. We are made aware of all the potential in the commercial world that other business owners are not necessarily aware of.
It's great to be able to run actual businesses while at university in a safe environment. This allows me to learn from my mistakes and receive advice from the coaches (lecturers). This will then limit the likelihood of failure in the future.
Alongside your degree, what do you hope to achieve over the next few years?
I intend to continue to develop my Small Wallets website while at university. I am now looking into designing my own small wallet, although I will continue to explore other niche markets. I hope to take one business on full time after I graduate. Business is never totally predictable. My dream is to have my own brand.
How did your time at Bede's influence you?
Bedes helped me develop from a rather ‘reserved’ student into a confident, successful and independent person, particularly in the Sixth Form. I achieved the best possible academic grades [Alex studied Business, Photography and Music at A Level], which were crucial for me gaining a place at my first choice university at Falmouth.
Through studying, I developed my core business knowledge and skills, which has been invaluable. I always remember one of my teachers at a GSCE Parents' Evening advising my parents saying I was ‘one in a million’ and my entrepreneurial flare should be encouraged. I wasn’t originally certain about going onto university, but meeting of one of the Governors at a Careers Fair I attended in Lower Sixth inspired me to apply, and I am so pleased I did.
Studying Photography at A level was so rewarding and encompassed my creativity. My knowledge and skills have proved very useful, particularly in regards to business marketing - I have been able to create interesting designs through photography. I am continuing to develop my photography skills at Falmouth University.
In addition to my academic work, I pursued my other main interest - my singing voice. One of my fondest memories is singing a solo of 'One Hand, One Heart' at the Dicker House Chapel service; it was the first time my fellow students realised I could sing. My voice has matured into a baritone/tenor, which I am continuing to develop at Falmouth, and I may well consider a Postgraduate course in London.
Badminton was also an important activity for me at Bede's, and I have continued to enjoy the sport at university. I am also a committee member of the Kayaking Club and have recently started scuba diving.
Finally, I have been chosen as one of the few Business students at the university selected to be a Student Ambassador, and as part of my role, I help to promote the university to prospective students and their families.
Photograph credit: Pradyuman Samant, Marine and Natural History Photography student at Falmouth University