Harold Hill student entrepreneurs taking their skills to the market

Two student entrepreneurs from Harold Hill are as far removed from the “lazy student” stereotype as it’s possible to get – and they have already raised more than �13,000 towards a business venture.

The 19-year-olds are also in the running to win another �10,000.

Richard Oki and Seun Debiyi, both former Havering Sixth Form College students, are set to launch a website in the new year called Skills Market.

The idea is to develop a website “a place where students and tutors can meet,” taking the stress out of the search for both sides.

Richard, who is studying economics and finance at Birmingham City University, said he got the idea “when I was helping my mum to find a maths tutor for my little sister and there were websites which were making me pay to find a tutor.”

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He would later turn his dissatisfaction into the business idea - in which the financial costs would be met by the tutors rather than students - and joined up with his friend Seun, an economics student at Nottingham Trent University.

Richard explained that the website will be a one-stop shop for tutors and people looking to pay for tuition.

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He said: “Tutors can put videos on there so that people can actually see who they will be getting taught by and we can make sure that people are finding the right tutor.”

“We’re going to make sure tutors are going to be able to build a bigger client base, they won’t just be on the website to take up space.

In the summer, they won a �10,000 marketing package at a business conference, and another �3,000 of seed funding from non-profit organisation UnLtd.

Richard, president of his university’s banking and finance society, is also competing to win another �10,000 in a university business competition.

But why try to juggle his degree, society development and a serious business venture? He told the Recorder: “I’ve always looked at the job market and it’s not that great at the moment.

“My mum is going from working in an office in North London to retraining to become a nurse. It’s made me think that working underneath someone else might not be a suitable career.”

To see how the venture develops, follow @skillsmarket on Twitter.

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