Â At the age of 14, with just $5 in the pocket, he got an idea to produce pure fruit jam using his grandmotherâ€™s recipe. Two years later, he dropped out of school (temporarily) Â to concentrate in business.
Today, while his counterparts are hassling looking for jobs, he is a millionaire, speaker and philanthropist involved in charity work under the name The SuperJam Tea Parties. In addition, his products are available in top UK supermarkets like Waitrose, Sainsburyâ€™s ASDA, MORRISONS and BOOTHS.
Fraser Doherty, the recipient of 2007 Global Student Entrepreneur of the Year award is no ordinary person, whichever way you want to look at it. Doherty, from Edinburg Scotland, has been interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, made television appearances in Europe and China and spoken to manufacturers and wholesalers about his ambitious international expansion plans.
In an interview with YOUNG MONEY published on 22 February 2008 Doherty said: â€˜â€˜It all started one afternoon in a small way when my grandmother taught me how to make jam with her secret recipes. So I started as a hobby making it in the kitchen at home and selling it to the neighbors and at church fairs and farmers markets and local delicatessens. It just sort of grew and grew by word of mouth over a few years while I was still in [high] school. By the time I left school, I was working all day every day in my parentsâ€™ kitchen making jam.â€™â€™
He further says that his idea to make jam a bit healthier contributed to his success because sales of the product had been declining over the years. Thatâ€™s why he developed a product thatâ€™s made entirely from fruit and fruit juice; making it all natural and different from the competitors. For a teenager to have such strong business insights makes me guess that adults with much more experience and resources could do better, if they attempt to give entrepreneurship a chance.
However, all was not smooth. He had difficulties at the beginning convincing supermarkets to take on his product because of the comic book theme packaging. And after 6 months of developing the packaging and, pitching retailers unsuccessfully, he dropped the idea and instead embraced packaging that centered on the health benefits of his jam. And that was not allâ€¦
â€˜â€˜I knocked on lots of different doors. I had a lot of doors slammed in my face by people who couldnâ€™t see how I was going to make it work without any money or experience, â€™â€™ says Doherty. And I think this is typical of any business start up. You have to have determination, passion and faith in your ideas and vision.Â Perhaps thatâ€™s where most business ideas fail to come to fruition. You knock one door, the second, third and if none is opened you give up.
As he pursued his dream, doors started opening for young Doherty; one after the other. Newspapers featured his story, established business owners offered a helping hand, and supermarkets started calling. And as his wealth grew so did his generosity.
In 2008, Doherty established The SuperJam Tea Parties, specifically to run tea parties for elderly lonely people, among other charitable good causes. Hundreds of such tea parties have been held in UK and blankets also sent to orphanages in India.
Doherty, who says he often finds himself working for long hours, published his first book, The SuperJam Cookbook on 5 August 2010. It is all about recipes for making jams, cakes and desserts.
Eight months later, on 21 April 2011, Doherty published his second book, SuperBusiness. A book based on his success journey meant to guide business start-up owners.
Fraser Doherty is also available for speaking engagements. According to his website http://www.fraserdoherty.com, he has previously delivered over 250 speeches, in 17 countries around the world. His list of clients includes Kraft Foods, IBM, Accenture, KPMG, Barclay’s and RBS. In addition, his has delivered electrifying speeches in universities like the London School of Economics and Moscow State University.
His advice to young entrepreneurs is simple:
1. If you donâ€™t truly believe in what you are doing, itâ€™s not going to be easy to motivate yourself when things arenâ€™t going so well.
2. I meet a lot of people who have an idea for a business but are too afraid to take the first steps of giving it a shot, and that is a real shame.Â In reality, you shouldnâ€™t have anything to be afraid of â€“ nobody is going to laugh at you, youâ€™re not going to go bankrupt and even if things donâ€™t work out as youâ€™d hoped, trying will be fun and youâ€™ll hopefully learn something.
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