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Meet 2015 Journey Award Winner – Nahyan Islam

From extreme shyness which was holding him back to battling the elements on a mountain expedition in Canada, Young Enterprise has been the catalyst to give Nahyan Islam the confidence to follow his dreams. 

Nahyan Islam was awarded the National Journey Award at the Young Enterprise UK Company Final to recognise how far he had progressed on the Company Programme. He explains the impact Young Enterprise has had on his life, the skills he has learnt over the last year and his plans for the future.

Nahyan Islam with his father being interviewed by BBC Breakfast Presenter Steph McGovern

Nahyan Islam with his father being interviewed by BBC Breakfast Presenter Steph McGovern

“From embracing and tackling my problems, I’ve been able to take something that was blocking my progress and turn it into something that is now essential for my success. Before I started Young Enterprise, I was this really shy individual that was afraid of criticism and failure. I really wanted to share my ideas with people but, I just couldn’t do it. I had this ‘irrational fear’. I soon realised that I can’t just hide my inner reserves of strength and I needed to find a way of bringing that out of myself.

At first I was quite unsure of whether or not to participate in the Company Programme but I didn’t want to turn down an amazing opportunity like this as I’ve always had a desire to start up my own business. Through personal struggles, and members of my company having doubts, and dropping out early in our company cycle, I kept on believing! Believing that you will have to ‘fail and fail again…and then eventually you will succeed’.

My company name was Swift, a male fashion brand rooted in the heart of East London. Based in Bow, the brand incorporates all the grit that makes the area as fashionable and unique as it is today and what it means to be an East Londoner in the modern world. As the company’s sales and managing director, my role included delegating tasks, chairing the weekly meetings, being in charge of our social networking sites, writing emails and advertising our product in local stores. As a company, we decided to create t-shirts as part of our product featuring our unique design. The design reflected the changing circumstances that East London has faced over the past two decades from the riots in 2011 and the 7/7 bombings.

Through setting up a business I have learnt many different skills and overcome many different obstacles. I am now able to communicate with people with a great deal of confidence and have built my self-worth. I am extremely appreciative of this great opportunity handed to me by Young Enterprise. It has enabled me to hone many of the integral employability skills that will allow me to excel in the professional realm, and more than that, it has allowed me to come out of my shell and to test myself on every front, be it bureaucracy or resiliency. I cannot be more thankful.

Nahyan's reaction upon hearing he'd won the National Journey Award

Nahyan’s reaction upon hearing he’d won the National Journey Award

The skills that I have gained from Young Enterprise will now be tested yet again as I’m off on a mountain expedition in Canada for 21 days. Leaving the creature comforts behind, and carrying only what is essential in my backpack. It will not only test me physically but also emotionally – just as Young Enterprise did. Young Enterprise provided me with the platform to build my confidence – now I use these skills in every aspect of my life whether it’s verbal communication or an interview with a large firm.

Since a young age, I always had a passion to run my own business but I struggled to find the right people to drive my business forward. Young Enterprise gave me that chance and showed me a way of achieving this. In terms of a career, I really want to work in business but I’m still not sure of a specific one.

For anyone that is looking to take part in Young Enterprise, I would highly recommend it even if you don’t know whether you would like to start up a business. If you make the most of the opportunity, it will definitely change your life for the better just the way it has changed mine. Believe it or not, you wouldn’t want to miss out! Just remember that ‘it ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward…how much you can take and keep moving forward, because that’s how winning is done’.”