“If it wasn’t for my learnings (and the failures) on Company Programme, I wouldn’t be able to implement what I’ve implemented now with Tattel. I learnt that giving somebody the opportunity and a chance is the biggest thing you can do for them… helping them to unlock their potential.”
“If I didn’t do Company Programme at college, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” smiles Divyesh, Young Enterprise alumni from Loughborough. “If you want a growth mindset, if you want to learn resilience and the key skills that make you into a strong human being in general then a Young Enterprise Programme is something that I would highly recommend you do.”
The senior data engineer, team lead, and tech entrepreneur reflects that, for him, “At the age of 17 or 18, Company Programme represented my escape route. It gave me the push I needed to flourish.”
Divyesh recalls being bullied at school, “When I was young, I was academically weak, so I was a very easy target of bullying. I was always near the bottom of the class.” He adds that he had other struggles as English is his second language, with Gujarati as his mother tongue. “Back then, my parents didn’t speak a lot of English. They’d migrated from India and so I was speaking Gujarati at home – it’s my roots.”
However, the opportunity to take part in a practical, hands-on enterprise experience, such as Company Programme, stands out as an important moment of change in his young life. “Through the programme, I proved to myself that I do have transferable skills and potential outside of academia,” he says.
The teachers at Burleigh Community College in Leicestershire (now Charnwood College), put him forward for the programme and with 10 of his classmates he went on to develop Liquid, a business repurposing recyclable material into items for sale.
“I was Company Secretary and I remember being very scared of public speaking. My journey with speaking publicly really began with the Young Enterprise programme because you have to go out and present,” he says. “I’d never worked in a business team environment either, so I thought – what if there’s a disagreement.” He laughs, calling himself a ‘wuss’ back then, certainly not the type of person to jump in to dispel arguments.
However, when you’ve got no choice, you have to get stuck in – and this is just what he did.
A few of Divyesh’s team eventually dropped out, but he went the distance. “I wanted an escape route from challenges at school and to fully experience that journey. I am so glad I did because I learnt a hell of a lot through the process.”
Whether riding high or navigating lows, Divyesh says he grew to understand the value of learning through failures in the safe space Company Programme creates. “You can only succeed after you fail. It’s a skill I’ve taken on into my adult life and across my entrepreneurial journey.”
What makes Company Programme so unique is the applied learning, he explains. “There is some emotion attached to it and when you have emotion attached, you always remember that. When you do things practically, you’re putting your mental, physical and emotional efforts into it.”
He doesn’t remember sitting down with his parents to discuss his future, so the programme represented a practical opportunity to try different things. “My parents didn’t really know how to advise me [on my future]. They said follow your passion, which I wasn’t sure about because it kept changing every day.”
He chuckles, remembering that one day he wanted to be a teacher, the next a dancer, then an artist.
After college Divyesh went onto university and completed a Masters. He is now an experienced tech professional, “it’s ironic because I remember saying to friends that the one thing I don’t want to be is a software engineer, and that’s exactly what I am now!” he smiles. “But I love it. I could code all day.”
He’s also in the process of launching an innovation in social media, Tattel, with a business partner. Tattel is career development platform for students and early career professionals that links young people with established professionals across a range of sectors for advice, guidance, and inspiration. He also generously volunteers for Young Enterprise as a business mentor for one of our university enterprise programmes, giving back to the next generation.
“If it wasn’t for my learnings (and the failures) on Company Programme, I wouldn’t be able to implement what I’ve implemented now with Tattel,” he closes. “I learnt that giving somebody the opportunity and a chance is the biggest thing you can do for them… helping them to unlock their potential.”