Serial entrepreneur Bejay Mulenga was on the verge of expulsion at the age of 12 and today, the 24 year old entrepreneur has established multiple businesses across several sectors in the last decade.
By the age of 14, he had made £15,000 selling sweets. After securing financial support and mentoring from government business schemes, Mulenga, who was a business studies student around that time, managed to build a social enterprise – Supa Tuck – which was worth £200,000 by the time he turned 18.
In his early teens, he was given the responsibility of running a talent show for young creatives in his local youth centre. The organisation that funded the project fully supported his work, enabling him to recruit and manage a small team of young people who handled the front of house, stage management, and backstage management, lighting and sound engineering.
Mulenga said that he was also responsible for selecting contestants/judges and managing the overall budget of the project where he had to complete a financial report of money made on the night to the supporting organisation. Mulenga’s gift for event management resulted in the talent show being a sold-out success and was the first step of a journey that has seen him create a number of enterprises that have helped young people like him grow and establish their own projects.
At 13, he also fundraised £35,000 from the local council to rebuild a derelict studio and rehearsal space at the youth centre. His passion for business continued to grow and this led him to working on several campaigns with marketing agency Livity, working with clients that included Nike and Google.
The growth of Supa Tuck and the establishment of Supa Network
Mulenga set up Supa Tuck at 16. Keen to market the idea, he organised speaking engagements at a number of schools around the country. He used this platform to share best practice and tips on how students could turn their grades around, as he had done. Within four years, Mulenga had worked with over 5,000 students and was invited to Downing Street, where he met Lord Young, Enterprise Advisor to former Prime Minister David Cameron.
Impressed by his entrepreneurial skills, Chancellor at the time, George Osborne later wrote to Bejay, praising him as an "inspiration" who was "a better advertiser for our start-up loans scheme than any boring government publication". Mulenga has also been dubbed part of the "Generators Z" by energy drink, Lucozade.
Bejay also created Supa Academy, a platform established to teach young people entrepreneurial skills through workshops, mobile tools and events.
In 2015, Bejay set up Supa Market to help some of his peers who were struggling to find full-time or part-time employment. This then led to the pop-up market operated by teenagers at the Truman Brewery in Shoreditch, East London. The pop-up, which had over 10,000 customers, functioned as a mini department store, where several young entrepreneurs pitched and sold a variety of products.
In 2016 he became the youngest recipient of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for the work he has been doing to promote entrepreneurship to young people.
Mulenga has gone on to set up another enterprise called Supa Network which brings his businesses together and comprises of three in-house brands Supa Spaces, Supa Network and Supa Insight, all of which focus on areas that include event management, recruitment, marketing and creative content
Supa Network has provided services to some of the world’s most influential brands, including Apple and Facebook.
Bejay is looking to expand Supa Network over the next few years and is looking to infiltrate other high-growth regions across the UK, including Milton Keynes and Manchester, with the intention of reaching thousands of people across the country.