Year 10 student and business entrepreneur, Laila Beharry has made it through to the final round in a national business competition to win a share of a £10,000 investment to go into growing her American sweets business.
Laila is the owner of LB’s Sweet Tooth – an exclusive retailer of American candy, chocolates, cereal, drinks, crisps, snacks, cakes which she packages and sells to customers all over the UK from her unit in Hillingdon.
The Side Hustle Initiative is a nationwide search for all 14-18-year-olds like Laila who either are already delivering a side hustle or who have an amazing business idea that they are passionate about launching. The opportunity is being run by YourGamePlan, and they’re providing an opportunity for the top 25 individuals to gain access to one to one professional mentoring to support them in evolving their ideas. The top 5 finalists will share a £10,000 investment fund to go straight into growing their business.
Laila will be pitching her business idea to five judges in a ‘Dragons Den’ style this August in the hope of winning a share of £10,000 – the judges include Kully Johal – CEO of Amaryllis Ventures, Enoch Adeyemi FCCA, Sam Smith, CEO of finnCap Group, Richard Snow, Chief Financial Offer of finnCap Group and Baasit Siddiqui – Managing Director of Siddiqui Education Ltd.
On asked more about the set-up of LB’s Sweet Tooth – Laila said:
Last year during the first lockdown, I saw a gap in the market and took advantage of it by being the first business to offer a same day delivery service of American goods in London. I was contacted by influencers and rappers and got promotion on their social media platforms for some of our exclusive items. This made my clientele more celebrity based. I have made very good friendships with many celebrities from this, such as Central Cee (1.2m Instagram followers and one of the biggest artists in the UK), his family are regular buyers from me and I see him all the time.
However, Laila quickly realised the importance of pivoting her business to focus on website orders and also the ability to provide a delivery service for customers:
My business blew up in December 2020 and was extremely busy over the Christmas period. However, after this I noticed there was a massive spike in American candy businesses, proving that I had a huge impact on this. I launched my website on my birthday- 8th May 2021 and that has increased my sales massively as people can order direct at whatever time they like, instead of having to wait on a reply from myself. I do everything myself, such as website updates, packing and posting orders, making stock purchases and contacting suppliers! I have a paid driver that does deliveries around London. I am now looking to expand my business into importing my own products from America and other countries and sell my retail items at incredibly competitive prices, and supply to other small businesses.
Another Global Academy student, Ronnie Koldashi in Year 12 also got through to the first round of the competition with his unique trainer reseller business – Realistkrepz. Ronnie uses a mix of platforms including Depop, Snapchat, Instagram and eBay to build audiences to his streetwear brand.
Students with a passion for business and enterprise should join Global Academy where enterprise, business and commercial activity sits at the heart of everything we do when thinking about creating media products for audiences in today’s ever increasing commercial market.