Two former Coventry University students have been shortlisted in a prestigious business competition
Two former Coventry University students who have launched a business to inspire young people to make positive changes in their lives have been shortlisted in a prestigious business competition.
Carl Konadu and Azzees Minott have set-up a business called 2-3 Degrees which runs talks and workshops to increase confidence in young people to take practical steps towards achieving their goals.
They met while studying for a BA (Hons) degree in International Relations and Politics at Coventry University, and supported and mentored each other during their course which also involved Carl doing an internship at the Commonwealth Youth Exchange Council and Azzees volunteering at the Citizens Advice Bureau and spending a year abroad studying in Spain.
Carl and Azzees discovered they were both passionate about personal development – and the idea for 2-3 Degrees was born.
Their growing business is on a three-strong shortlist at Baldwins Accountants’ KickStart Awards which is taking place at a black-tie dinner at Edgbaston Cricket Ground in Birmingham on Thursday, November 16.
The winner will be presented with a £10,000 grant along with £10,000 worth of mentoring and accountancy advice from Baldwins Accountants, which has an office at Middlemarch Business Park in Siskin Drive, Coventry, and the runners-up will each be given £5,000 of mentoring and accountancy advice.
Carl, a director at London-based 2-3 Degrees, said 1,300 young people have attended their talks and workshops so far across the UK in places such as London, Birmingham, Manchester and Loughborough.
He said: “2-3 Degrees is a small angle, so it depicts the idea that the next book that you read or the next person you meet can help you to make the small, incremental changes that you need to fulfil your potential.
“We inspire and equip young people in a really fun, dynamic, imaginative way to think about their personal development.
“A young person may be able to recall numbers and write really well but not have the life skills needed to flourish and those communication skills that are important in the work place or higher education.”
The business has worked with a range of organisations from the Mayor of London’s office to the National Citizen Service through to schools all around the UK.
“The response has been positive from young people, teachers, policy makers and decision makers in the education community,” Carl said.
“It has exceeded my expectations and every day is really exciting. Running a business is a learning curve but I think it is important to do something you are really passionate about because when there are difficult times, your passion helps you to persevere.
“We are really excited to have been shortlisted for the Baldwins Accountants’ KickStart Awards. It is a great experience to have a business like Baldwins acknowledge your business and the development we’re trying to make.
“To be able to chat with David Baldwin about our plans was really inspiring and gave us more motivation to work hard and review the way we work.
“We’re really looking forward to pitching our business to the audience at the awards since they are all potential investors.”
David Baldwin, director at Baldwins, said it was vital to believe in your business and be willing to work hard particularly in the early stages of launching a new venture.
“Setting up a new business is not easy but it was clear from the first time I met Carl and Azzees that they both totally have faith in the success of 2-3 Degrees,” he said.
“They are helping to equip young people with the soft skills that employers need which can make a massive difference in achieving their career goals.
“I am looking forward to hearing their presentation at the awards night and I am sure our fifth KickStart Awards will be another memorable evening.”