“If I was myself the whole time, I knew that I’d do well”: The Apprentice’s Dean Ahmad on being a young entrepreneur

Source: Jodie Shepherd

Making a name for yourself as a young person is far from easy. But with a drop in university-goers and a growth in determination and hard work, young people are gradually taking the business world by storm.

If anyone can vouch for that, it is Dean Ahmad, one of the youngest candidates to appear on The Apprentice this year.

The Essex boy runs a sports management company, Fine Edge Cricket, representing cricket players from across the world.

Growing up, he was always very self-aware and knew that he wanted to create his own business: “I remember selling cards at school, selling hats at one stage…for me, I always knew I was an entrepreneur. In terms of my business in particular, I’ve always loved sport and loved business, so what I do now is the perfect combination of that.”

This is something he highlights a lot for aspiring entrepreneurs – knowing who you are and where you want to go. That, along with loving what you do, is the key to making your business a success.

But, of course, as a young person trying to make it big, there are always obstacles, as Ahmad explains:

 

Work ethic is the one thing that can get you through this, which is nicely explained in this analogy:

 

“The most successful people in this world are the people who can take those setbacks and losses every day and learn from them. On the route to the top you’re always going to have loses and failure – it’s just part of that journey.”

The Apprentice

Most known for being a candidate on The Apprentice, Ahmad says his ‘game plan’ throughout the show is, ultimately, to be himself.

Still, the series hasn’t come without its challenges as Dean of all people knows. The 20-year-old was in the bottom two for the first two weeks of the competition.

 

As Lord Sugar said in the boardroom: “…You’re babies as far as I’m concerned. But, I started when I was 17 or 18 years old and I remember doing some really stupid things. You’ve got to grow up.”

So does that mean age can also work in your favour? Not necessarily. Dean believes Lord Sugar could see potential, too: “I’d like to think he saw something in me, a bit of a spark and thought it’s worth giving me a chance and see what happens.”

University

Graphic: Emma Soteriou

The drop in applications to university is mostly down to people finding other routes that suit them and their career goals better.

Dean learnt this during his short time at university.

 

There are so many alternatives – from apprenticeships to joining the workforce – but it is down to the individual to decide what is right for them.

Influencers

Another route young people tend to be taking, instead of going into traditional businesses, is through social media.

As Dean points out, it has become as important today as TV was for our parents. And for young people watching these influencers, it puts the industry and lifestyle on a pedestal.

“It’s almost cringe-worthy to me, the fake lifestyle and everyone promoting no work but you see all the rewards. It can be dangerous at times because people get jealous and aspire to the wrong things without realising the hard work behind it.”

Advice

For all of the young people out there trying to be entrepreneurs, here is Dean’s top tip on what to do.

 

Make sure you check out Dean as he continues his journey on BBC One’s The Apprentice, Wednesday at 9pm.

Words: Emma Soteriou

Photo: Jodie Shepherd