There might be an EdTech deficit in the UK, but that doesn’t stop every up-and-coming creative from aiming high.
We spoke to some of London’s brightest young tech entrepreneurs – here, we talk to Alex Sowter in full.
Alex Sowter, 21, Co-founder of Blinc
What types of jobs are your friends doing?
Banking, tech scene, large multinationals and students.
Have you won any awards in the Tech world?
Blinc, my current start-up won one of the startup tech competitions hosted by Nacue.
What do you do in your company?
I’m responsible for: marketing strategy, marketing segmentation, market entry and direction as well as the smaller creative processes.
Why did you choose to take the avenue you’ve chosen?
I’ve always had an interest in marketing strategy and the creative process involved in company direction. Marketing can make or break a business.
What are the benefits of doing what you do over a 9-5 office job?
The ability to make my day to day activities affect the success of the business. 9-5 office jobs at a student/new-graduate level are very limited in how your decisions affect the workplace. I get to hire my own team, all of whom I am friends with and trust.
What’s your opinion of Tech City?
People outside the scene have no idea this is going on, which is a shame, as it has so much to give. Tech City is quite hidden in London. Unless you know people in the scene, you’ll struggle to get involved. It’s an incredible society. Whatever you’re looking for you will find it in this small area.
The 3Beards have opened people’s eyes to the scene, putting the ‘play hard’ into ‘work hard play hard’.
How does attending networking events e.g the Drinkabout help you?
You meet like-minded people who REALLY want success, not just people who think ‘yeah I want to be rich’.
However, most importantly you get to test your business ideas. The term ‘Fail Fast’ is a phrase I like to use. Test, test and test again! If people can pick hole in your idea, then look elsewhere. We all want to help one another.
Are youth being supported enough in their ventures by the government, the TCIO, and other tech initiatives?
Yes, the funding is there, as well as schemes specifically for young people. There is a smaller representation compared to Silicon Valley where people routinely drop out of Uni, however this is becoming more popular in the tech scene.The government needs to encourage enterprise, rather than just traditional education.
A scheme which allows students to drop out of Uni and come back if they want (within a 2 year period) would be brilliant. It takes risk out the equation for entrepreneurs tempted to drop out, and allows them to take risks with their business which may be extremely time sensitive.
What are the advantages of being 25 and under in Tech City?
You can take more risks, make more mistakes and not be judged so harshly. Even when presenting, we’re not expected to be as experienced as the older entrepreneurs, however when they find we are, we normally get a great reception.
The trend is undeniably geared towards young tech entrepreneurs, but there are many startups (especially financially-based) which require a bit more experience rather than pure disruption and creativity.
What are the most exciting tech developments across the world for you?
Augmented reality and the Internet of Things (IOT).
Who’s the most inspirational person in London’s tech scene?
Benjamin Southworth is a big name, he still shows up at the smaller events to show support. He’s very grounded.
And the global tech scene?
Steve Jobs, it has to be. I don’t think anyone can deny him that after reading his autobiography, looking at his achievements, and also his pure genius and charisma. Many believe he only created Apple, he also made Pixar a massive success.
What’s your advice for young people getting into London’s tech ecosystem?
Go to as many events as possible, learn how to interact, know what you want and ENJOY IT.