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Lifeline Mentee Q&A: Roshawn, UniMee

Lifeline offers development and support to 16-25 year olds looking to start up their own business. After an initial training course some participants are selected for additional support, including access to a business mentor.

Here, we give you the chance to meet one of the young entrepreneurs involved in the project. You can also download a copy of the interview here: icon Lifeline Mentee Q&A: Roshawn (454.08 kB). And visit the UniMee website at www.unimee.co.uk.

TELL ME A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF

I’m 18, I’m from Birmingham but I’ve just moved away to start university. To relax I like to chill and talk about life.

WHAT WOULD YOUR FRIENDS SAY IS YOUR BEST QUALITY?

I work very hard.

WHAT’S YOUR BUSINESS IDEA?

A business that helps students choose the right university and save money.

The business is called UniMee, it’s an online web tool that gives A2 students a clearer understanding on which university is the best for them, by telling them what the requirements are, what the area’s like, what’s the girl/boy ratio, etc. It also caters for current university students, providing recipes, deals and discounts.

WHAT INTERESTS YOU MOST ABOUT STARTING YOUR OWN BUSINESS?

There are a number of reasons, but the main thing is to become my own boss, be able to do whatever I want, and have no limit on how much I can do. I want to prove the doubters wrong and show I can do it.

The business lets me express myself and be different. And I hope that by doing it I can be a role model for my younger siblings and other young people.

Also, the process. I enjoyed setting up the business, thinking about all the different things that need to be done.

I want to be able to provide for my family, and the whole image of having my own office and a team that work for me. That’s the goal.

WHAT KIND OF HELP DID YOU NEED MOST TO GET YOUR BUSINESS STARTED AND TO KEEP YOU MOTIVATED?

The help that I most needed when setting up a business is not so much the funding but more of the resources such as the right people to help me put my idea out there, like through having a website.

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 5 YEARS’ TIME?

Erm, well, in 5 years I see myself being 23…

Eventually I’d like to have at least one successful business, maybe even two or three small businesses, generating good income. I want to be able to call myself an entrepreneur and be making my living that way. And I’d like to be able to buy my mother a house and myself a car.

WHY SET UP YOUR OWN BUSINESS RATHER THAN WORK FOR SOMEONE ELSE?

I don’t want to get up every morning to help someone else chase their dream. I want to be in charge of my own life, I think I would be depressed just working for someone else who can choose how much I get paid, when I work, what I do, and if I even still have a job. I want to be different and take risks and chase my own dream.

WHAT DO YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY THINK OF YOUR PLANS?

I don’t really care about what people think. I used to speak about it a lot, but not as much now because not a lot of people think like me so if I repeatedly told them what I was going to do with my life they would probably end up getting annoyed!

Sometimes people don’t really understand and previously when I used to talk about my future plans they would say ‘wake up’ or ‘that’s not going to happen’. Except my sister, she understands what I’m saying and how I think. She hasn’t said it won’t happen, she believes in me.

IF YOU WERE GOING TO GIVE SOMEONE IN SCHOOL ADVICE ABOUT THE FUTURE WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Some people will dislike you regardless of how you act - you’ll get called arrogant if you are different from everyone else and you know what you want out of life - so don’t worry about them.

I would tell them to work very hard and get rid of the words ‘impossible’ and ‘can’t’ because those words were created by lazy people, jealous people and doubters. I would also say nothing is impossible in life. Try to find at least one person who thinks the same way you do and don’t be scared to say what you think.

If you have a target in life don’t think that it’s too big because someone else says so just embrace being different and if you believe in yourself and pray for what you want in life, you will get.

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF LIFELINE SO FAR?

I think Lifeline has helped me a lot as it has shown me if I want to create something or start up a business how it can be done without taking months or years. It has also shown me that anything is possible and I can do anything I want in this world.