Sabril Islam: aged just 20, the keynote speaker at last night’s Creative Young Entrepreneurs Luxembourg award gala founded his first firm six years ago. The native of one of East London’s poorest boroughs then became a trader with Merrill Lynch in New York at 16. Since then, he’s returned to the UK and published several inspirational books, DVDs and a board game.
Photo: Luc Deflorenne
AG: What inspired you to become an entrepreneur at such a young age?
SI: My whole entrepreneurial journey started when I was 14 years old. My cousin, who’s a year older, has always been an inspiration to me. He set up his own company at the age of 14--designing calendars for teachers in schools--and he employed me. Two years later he fired me. To prove him wrong, that I was ‘good enough,’ I set up my own company designing websites for corporate clients.
AG: What inspired you to inspire others?
SI: To have set-up a successful company and still to have gone to school, people were bedazzled. I was asked so many questions about how I did it. I thought I had to inspire young people, to give them the belief that no matter where you’re from, your culture, your background, your history, the area you’re born and raised in, you can still be an extraordinary individual.
AG: What is your current project?
SI: I’m going to 20 countries in 12 months to inspire one million people. To keep track of every single person, [I am asking them to] go onto www.inspire1million.org and upload an image. You’ll see one million faces on one single website, all to help [young people] get into entrepreneurship, and to see that you don’t always have to have a degree or a job to succeed, there’s always another plan in life. The world has a whole lot more to offer.
The Junior Chamber and the CYEL Awards are featured in the June print edition of Delano.