Interview: Kelly Klein, young IT entrepreneur
22nd November 2013
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Durham graduate, former JP Morgan banker and now young entrepreneur Kelly Klein has launched Student@Home, a service that sees IT students going into elderly people’s homes and teaching them the basics of the internet – from how to send an email to how to set up an eBay account. The scheme began in London a year ago, and hopes to spread to the rest of the UK in the near future. We spoke to Kelly as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week (18th – 24nd November.) Her advice? Be thrifty, follow the example of Oprah - but most of all, be passionate. Did your experience of university help you to develop your entrepreneurial skills? Yes, whilst at university I set up a business organizing events. This business not only helped me pay my way through university, the experience also taught me many skills that I still use today in my business. Did you know you wanted to work as an entrepreneur? Or did it just happen? I have always been entrepreneurial, even as a child. I did not plan for this to happen, but I feel as though things do happen for a reason. You are drawn to the type of work that you enjoy and have the skills for, and I believe that is what happened to me. What are your tips for getting a small business off the ground when you’re still relatively young and in experienced? You should watch your spending carefully. Money doesn’t come easily, especially at the beginning days of a company. A lot of new businesses go under because they don’t have a steady cash flow and they just keep spending. You should worry less about small things, such as what size of office you wish to buy, and focus on building the company. You should also never be hesitant to ask for advice. It is so helpful to find a mentor. And when starting a business, it will take over your life - it needs attention 24/7. Make sure that this is something that you are committed to and passionate about. Did you have any turning point moments that lead you to leave your career in banking? I liked the idea of having complete control over my own destiny. Yet, I also wanted to do something good and know I’m helping others with my work. I loved my role at JP Morgan, but when I saw this opportunity I knew I had to take it. Why did you choose the IT sector? I saw opportunity in Student@Home. I knew that our reliance on technology would be increasing to the point where we all had to know how to use computers. I knew this business would be able to benefit so many people. What or who are your business role models?
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