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Nick Wheeler announced as next Entrepreneur in Residence

Milton Abbey School is delighted to announce that Nick Wheeler, the founder and Chairman of the shirt brand Charles Tyrwhitt, will be the next Entrepreneur in Residence for 2017/18.  

Nick Wheeler founded the company as an undergraduate in 1986 because he thought shirts seemed too expensive. Using his middle names, Charles and Tyrwhitt, his initial marketing budget consisted of £99 to print 5,000 leaflets and a £199 Amstrad word processor to sell shirts by mail order.  While the business was a hobby for several years alongside his day job, by 1990 he was producing four catalogues a year. This led to the opening of a shop on Jermyn Street in 1997, a website in 1998, a Paris store in 2001 and one on Madison Avenue, New York, in 2002. In May 2011 Nick opened a new flagship store on Jermyn Street. Online customers account for 65 per cent of sales. Today, the company, with headquarters in London Bridge, employs 980 people and has 28 stores across the world, of which 21 are in the UK, and a turnover of approximately £185m.
Our Entrepreneur in Residence scheme is now in its fourth year.  It brings a successful business leader into the school to adjudicate in a ‘Dragons’ Den’ style competition, in which £500 of seed funding for a business idea has to be developed into a fully-fledged business proposition. Business surgeries with the entrepreneurs are a golden opportunity for the teams to get advice about strategic marketing, financing and pricing from a business leader well known on the high street. Magnus Bashaarat says of the scheme, “We wanted to introduce a scheme that was about mentoring and advice.   In my view the biggest dividend is the encouragement that the budding entrepreneurs receive; someone believes in their idea and in their ability, and they feel able to breathe life into their business.”


Nick Wheeler said, “I have spent 30 years building my business and have almost (!) enjoyed every minute. I have many friends who attended Milton Abbey and have always been impressed with two things - their charm and their "get up and go". I have always said that an entrepreneur needs two things - a great smile and a determination to kick down the doors that are closed in his or her face.”
“When Magnus Bashaarat asked me to be "Entrepreneur-in-Residence" for 2018, it struck me that the qualities of my Milton Abbey friends match almost exactly those qualities that are needed to make an entrepreneur succeed. So I jumped at the opportunity and really look forward to creating a small spark or two that will grow to be one of the truly great entrepreneurial success stories of the future.”
The School’s first Entrepreneur in Residence was designer Anya Hindmarch and subsequent entrepreneurs who have led the scheme include Cath Kidston, Johnnie Boden and most recently David Ross, co-founder of The Carphone Warehouse.    The Entrepreneurs in Residence deliver a keynote address to the whole school that describes their business journey, often detailing the mistakes they made, the pitfalls they fell into and the ideas that didn’t get off the ground. 
Many pupils have benefited from the scheme over the past few years.  This year’s prize winner, Tom, whose company start-up ‘Totally Original Merchandise’ manufactures and sells marble door stops that he has found and repurposed from architectural marble cut-offs , really captured David Ross’s imagination. Tom had done a huge amount of work to package and present his product cleverly, and David was able to give him advice on how to market and sell his doorstops, as well as putting in Tom’s first bulk order.  
Ollie was the winner of last year’s competition, “The opportunity to meet with and take advice from such an accomplished entrepreneur as Johnnie Boden, whilst in the process of starting up my first business, was an irreplaceable experience. As a result I now have a better understanding of the direction I want my business to head in, and thanks to Johnnie I have a better understanding of how to get there.”    
Magnus Bashaarat added, “We are extremely grateful to Nick Wheeler for taking on this role for us.  It will provide a real boost to the many pupils at Milton Abbey who are budding entrepreneurs.  Milton Abbey aims to foster original, independent and creative thinkers who will be able to contribute to work and life in the twenty-first century; the Entrepreneur in Residence scheme is central to this ethos.”