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Tooting's Young Entrepreneurs: Raymond Pele

Tooting's Young Entrepreneurs: Raymond Pele

2017-09-15 
| by Editor | Posted in News, Business & Finance

Continuing our series featuring some of Tooting’s great young entrepreneurs, we introduce Raymond Pele of new youth marketing agency, Y-Connect.

From arriving at University with just £50 in his pocket to now running a number of growing businesses, Raymond has a compelling story to tell...

“I’m an Oxford boy originally and that’s where I started my first business at 16 years old. As a dancer myself, I put on a charity event to raise money for the Haiti earthquake appeal in 2010. That event raised £3k and led to O2 Telefonica getting in touch and funding my first venture – a performing arts school raising money for charity. O2 made me an ambassador for their youth programmes and I shared my ideas with them on how young people could be reached, which I continue to do to this day.

“I went to Leeds Metropolitan University where I studied International Business but after my first year, I knew uni that wasn’t for me – I was more into practical learning and so I just didn’t go to lectures and learned online instead.

“I arrived at Uni with just £50 that my Mum had given me to survive the first week and my new uni friends nicknamed me ‘KFC Chicken Bucket Boy’ as that’s what I spent the money on. I didn’t know in advance about Freshers’ Week and that I’d need money to go out every night and my Dad refused to give me more as he wanted me to stand on my own two feet, so I knew I needed to provide for myself!

“On my first night out in Leeds and in a queue for the nightclub, one of the doormen recognised me from Facebook as someone that could potentially help them to promote their events. I got into the club and enjoyed the night for free as I said I would work for him and the next day started selling tickets very quickly for their events whilst on campus and made good money. I then realised that if the nightclub could reach me via social media, then I could reach potential young buyers through social media. So I started selling tickets via Facebook to local students from my room and began to realise the power of becoming an influencer, and so affecting other people’s behaviour. 

“The next step was to start my own digital marketing business, Landan Consultants, but whilst getting this going in 2012, I lost my Dad. My parents are from Zambia and so shortly after my Father’s death, I flew over there to set up a charity in his memory. Although I still really didn’t feel that uni was for me, I continued to study whilst in Africa and this led me to winning the ‘Enterprising Student Of The Year’ award, as I passed my second year exams without going to any lectures.

Raymond outside Y-Connect’s Tooting home in the Trident Business Centre on Bickersteth Road.

“On return to the UK, whilst back focusing on growing my business and going after big brands, my Uncle got me a placement year in London in a huge promotional company. During my time here, I understood what it took for the company to connect with and land big clients with all the fancy meals and VIP treatment. I was sat in the agency surrounded by account managers for lots of big brands who came to me for social media advice. This led to me working on the FIFA account with Coca Cola, who flew me to the US to lead the ‘World Cup Trophy Tour’ social media campaign, ahead of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, which was a great experience.

“After my placement year, I headed back to Leeds to pick up my business whilst finishing my final year. During this time, a lot of investment went into the City of Leeds to make it a digital hub. I successfully applied to be part of this ‘Yorkshire Hub’ and me and my small team were given an office above the Yorkshire Post, where we taught people how to use video and social media. On the back of this, Landan Consultants won Leeds Met Business Of The Year.

“I finally graduated from uni (where my lecturers scowled at me on picking up my certificate!) and then decided it was time to head back to London. I received a call from a friend who said that the big media agency, Publicitas, were keen to meet me. Publicitas were in the middle of changing their focus from traditional outdoor advertising to online and so I was taken on as an intern and won a load of their in-house competitions for client billing. Whilst there, I learned a lot about media buying but the 9-5 atmosphere didn’t suit me and so after 3 months I decided to leave and head back out to Zambia. My Uncle connected me to many big players in the African political scene and so I put my social and media buying experience to good use, helping them to reach their audience online.

“And now to why I’m in Tooting! After returning to the UK from Zambia again, I was contacted by O2 who told me that a social enterprise (Business Launchpad) was looking for someone to act as a social media collaborator and as a partner with whom to start a youth marketing agency. I applied for and got the job and Y-Connect was born, helping London-wide businesses to both gain insight into and reach the 16-25 year old audience. We’re just getting started with this and are excited to what the future holds.

“My ambition is to help turn Y-Connect into London’s leading youth marketing agency, whilst continuing to grow my own marketing company and personal brand.”

We wish Raymond good luck and are looking forward to watching him take Y-Connect and his other ventures forward! You can follow Raymond via Instagram & LinkedIn and contact him at raymond@businesslaunchpad.org.uk

Based in the Trident Business Centre on Bickersteth Road, Business Launchpad offers free business support & counselling to young entrepreneurs aged 16-30 in Wandsworth. To find out more about Business Launchpad, click here.

If you’re a young Tooting entrepreneur who’d like to be featured in future articles, then drop us some details via email – we’d love to hear from you!

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