"Teen-Trepreneur" has the world at his feet
After growing up witnessing crime and violence on his East London streets Sabirul Islam is on a mission to inspire disadvantaged young people.
Despite being fired from his first job, he has carved out a successful career for himself as a global speaker, published author and social entrepreneur at the age of just 21.
His first book, “The World at Your Feet” was published when he was 17 and his second when he was 19. His educational business board game is sold in 14 countries world-wide and used as part of the BTEC Business Qualification in over 550 schools in the UK.
He’s spoken at events all over the world and produced a 15-step programme to help young people start their own businesses.
A new TV show – a cross between The Apprentice and The Secret Millionaire – is also in the pipeline in South Africa.
“My cousin set up his own business through Young Enterprise and I went to work for him when I was 13 but he ended up firing me,” he said.
“I wanted to channel that anger in a positive way so I did Young Enterprise and was the Managing Director of a web design company which I ended up running for two years.
“After that Merrill Lynch offered me the opportunity to go on a two week programme in New York where I learnt the basics of being a trader. I ended up working on the London Stock Exchange for nine months.
“I grew up in Tower Hamlets where young people see a lot of crime, violence and drug-taking.
“Kids would come up to me and ask me how I could run a business and be a trader at such a young age.
“I thought I could inspire them so I wrote my first book which I self-published after getting rejected by 40 publishers. That opened a lot of doors for me to become a motivational speaker.”
Sabirul has spoken at events across Europe, the US, Japan and Africa. He also launched the Teen-Trepreneur Board Game which teaches key aspects of business such as sales, expenses, ethics, loans and investment.
He won the Mosiac Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2008, the Future 100 Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2009 and the JA-YE Top 20 Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2010.
“I want to show people that no matter your age, race, religion or culture, you can succeed if you believe in yourself and have the perseverance and patience to get ahead.
“I personally wouldn’t be here today without Young Enterprise. It shows you that there is another way of doing things.”