Aimee Clint (18) from Ballywalter, has won a £10,000 angel investment by winning the TransferWise 20 Under 20 2019 for Europe.
Aimee, who is studying on the Level 3 90 Credit Diploma in Business at SERC, is the Founder of Books by Stellas CIC, a start-up that creates informative, charitable books raising awareness of Autism.
Aimee said, “The idea for the book started a few years ago when I was involved in a young enterprise project. My brother has Autism, but whilst growing up there were no resources about the condition which could explain it to me in terms that I really understood. I decided to create a resource to give back to other siblings something that that I felt was missing from what I was going through when I was younger.
“As part of that initial group I met with autism groups, specialist, people with autism, families and charities and presented a first draft of the book to get feed-back the wealth of knowledge encouraged my friend Saan and I to take the book to the next level by starting Books by Stellas.
“When I stared SERC last September, I was delighted to learn that they had an Entrepreneur Club. I signed up and got great support from Dr John Terry and Terence Brannigan, Chairman of Tourism NI and SERC’s Entrepreneur in Residence.“
In January 2019, I took part in Social Enterprise NI’s Dragon’s Den at their annual conference in Mossney Mills.
Although we didn’t win, our profile and the book got noticed by lots of other social enterprises and sales started to grow. “Testament to the power of social media, someone messaged me on LinkedIn about TransferWise 20 Under 20 and after some investigation, I decided to enter our work. There were over 60 applicants from across Europe which was whittled down to 20 including me, who were invited to an all-expenses paid visit to TranferWise HQ in London which allowed the 20 candidates to meet up to network. It was an amazing experience. I kept asking myself ‘why am I here?’ when I saw the other candidates. I was thrilled to be further selected as one of the top 5. The top five had to pitch which was daunting – but I did my best and was delighted to win the £10,000 angel investment to develop the business in whatever way we want. It is brilliant in that we only every had about £200 in our bank account for the business and now we will be able to do so much more. At the minute we are looking into animation for the book and perhaps an app.
Aimee added, “Our mission for the business was ‘buy one give one’ so for every book we sold, we would donate a copy to a primary school in NI to help inform the pupils about autism since one in 30 children across NI has a diagnoses of autism - one in every classroom of 30 children.
“Since winning the award we are keen to spread more awareness regarding autism and show the importance of social enterprises on an international scale.
Aimee is adamant that achieving success at 18 should not be regarded as remarkable. She said, “In terms of business, never be told that you will not be able to do something or that you are too young to do it, if that is what you really want to do. Ask for advice from people who are qualified to give it, and use whatever you are passionate about to drive you to succeed, turn anything negative into positivity, and go for it!
“Doing the Level 3 Business course at SERC has been a real help. One day you are studying the theory and the next you could be turning it into real life practice for a business that is now thriving.”
Ken Webb, Principal and Chief Executive at SERC said, “We are delighted for Aimee’s success. To win the TransferWise 20 Under 20 title for Europe shows exceptional talent, determination and an enterprising spirit for which Aimee is to be heartily congratulated.
He added, “This is exactly the mindset we encourage at the College across all programmes through Project Based Learning which helps prepare students for the world of work, developing the right skills, attitudes and behaviours whilst having fun and learning along the way.”
Taavet Hinrikus, Chairman and co-founder of TransferWise said, “Aimee is a thoroughly deserving winner. Aimee’s business stood out to me because of the drive and commitment she has to break the stigma against and raise awareness of autism via her charitable books. It’s a unique, worthy idea and I’m excited to see how the investment helps Aimee further her mission.”
Aimee’s books can be purchased online at Booksbystellas.com
Applications are now open for full time courses commencing in September. For more information about the Level 3 Business course or to make an application please click here. For further information about Student Companies and the Entrepreneur club at SERC please click here.