SuperJam founder and Junior Achievement ambassador Fraser Doherty made a welcome return to the Island to address students from Ballakermeen High School, Castle Rushen High School, King William’s College and Queen Elizabeth II High School taking part in the Junior Achievement company programme.
Held in Ballakermeen High School’s studio theatre the event saw the 25-year-old Edinburgh-born entrepreneur recount to his audience ‘The Adventures of Jam Boy’ in which, at the age of 14, he started making jam inspired by his grandmother’s recipes, went on to supply more than 2000 supermarkets in the UK, as well as in Australia, Korea and Japan, and now has his sights set on breaking into the US market.
As a student he took part in the Young Enterprise company programme, acting as, unsurprisingly, managing director of a company making sweets. ‘We didn’t win but the experience taught me about business and that you don’t always have to come up with something new, sometimes you can just re-work an existing product. A good idea doesn’t mean reinventing the wheel; you can create something extraordinary out of the ordinary…and make the most of your business mentors.’
Fraser advised his audience of aspiring entrepreneurs to be prepared for knock-backs. ‘I worked for a year on label designs for my jars of jam before submitting them to Waitrose…and they didn’t like any of them, so I had to re-think the message I was trying to get over.’
He suggested inspiration could come from other brands – SuperJam’s successful labeling finally approved by Waitrose was inspired by the simplicity of smoothie manufacturer Innocent’s promotional material – and as a dedicated philanthropist he urged students ‘to run a business in a way that does more than make money’.
‘Don’t set out to get rich; my motivation wasn’t money, it was to be able to gain control of my own life and now I can help others by investing in start-up businesses.
‘I started out with an investment of just £5 to buy the fruit to make the jam. With imagination and hard work you can grow an idea and it can change your life.’
The presentation also provided Junior Achievement chief executive Sue Cook the opportunity to remind students of the schedule for the company programme ahead of the competition on March 12th and that the winning team, to be announced at the awards ceremony on March 19th, would be travelling to Estonia in July to represent the Isle of Man in the European finals. Sue urged the students to ‘enter for the experience’ and added: ‘Research shows that 15 per cent of students who take part in the company programme go on to become self-employed, compared to the national average of six per cent.’
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