Learning Differently – How Dyslexic Entrepreneurs Achieve Success

Elizabeth Kwarteng-Amaning introducing the Dyslexic Entrepreneurs event

Aspire2inspire Dyslexia – the community interest dyslexic support organisation created by Elizabeth Kwarteng-Amaning with only £1.25 a few years ago is powering along. On Tuesday, as part of Wandsworth Enterprise Week, it hosted a trio of dyslexic entrepreneurs who showed how they had built businesses and careers, despite being thought failures at school.

All three felt that their “learning differently” approach allowed them to excel in areas that require creativity and “thinking outside the box.”

Charlotte Childs, who runs a marketing and design consultancy said, “I got thrown out of school. I think in pictures and patterns, so writing is very difficult for me.” She set up her own company after she got tired of the linear thinking of conventional businesses. When she was diagnosed in her thirties, her struggles made sense.

There is research that supports the idea that dyslexics can channel their frustrations, obstacles and original modes of thinking and problem solving into careers where these are recognised and rewarded. Obviously more dyslexics become creative professionals, artists, designers and film-makers, rather than lawyers: rule- and word-bound structures do not appeal to them.

L-R: Dale Smith, Leslie Lewis Walker, Charlotte Childs

Leslie Lewis Walker is a video-maker and musician. He did an interactive presentation, where he gave out Post-its with a couple of words on, and riffed off that for his talk. He initially got a job in the Home Office, where he could use his people skills to sort out emergency visas, which involved schmoozing Consular personnel, which he excelled at. He was promoted due to his fine performance, and found himself in a job where meetings and minute-taking were required, and he wasn’t able to deliver the right material. He got frustrated and “bungee-jumped” into film-making for businesses because he can deliver “thinking outside the box” to communicate ideas effectively.

Business development coach Dale Smith said, “We have been blessed by thinking differently.” As a schoolchild, he was sent to the “Special Needs” class. Fortunately the inspiring teacher did not see him and the other pupils as “stupid” but people who needed nurturing to find their strengths. After succeeding in various conventional jobs, Dale got frustrated with where he was, and started his own business Bridge Consulting, “To help people embrace the best version of themselves.”

Elizabeth Kwarteng-Amaning said, “The Successful Dyslexic Entrepreneurs event 2018 was a life-changing experience for our attendees. A2i Dyslexia can help the individuals to unlock their full potential by setting up their own enterprise.”

The event was rounded off with a networking session and some lovely food.


Author: This article was written by Julian Jackson, Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce’s resident blogger and copywriter – https://julianj.journoportfolio.com

Photos by Julian Jackson

A2I Inspirational Dyslexia Speakers Event Report

Packed-out evening shows how people with dyslexia can use their abilities to have successful careers

The local community interest company Aspire 2 Inspire Dyslexia held a powerful event last week, drawing on the experiences of many dyslexic people who have conquered their affliction and made careers for themselves, with the intention of inspiring others. Some of the speakers thought that their dyslexia was almost an advantage – spurring them to use unconventional methods to mobilise their talents.

(L-R) Colin Fowler, Solomon Smith, Remi Ray; Photo: Julian Jackson

Soloman Smith is the founder of Brixton Soup Kitchen. When he was a schoolboy he recounted the hilarious tale of himself blagging a free coach trip to an amusement park for his schoolmates. Apparently the amusement park staff were quite stunned when the “Key Youth Worker” that Solomon pretended to be on the phone, was only 14!

The evening was organised by Elizabeth Kwarteng-Amaning, the founder of non-profit A2i dyslexia, who compered the many speakers. It was attended by the Mayor and the room was rammed to the rafters. Attendees enjoyed a lovely buffet in the interval, provided by the venue, Caius House.

Elizabeth Kwarteng-Amaning; Photo: Julian Jackson

Elizabeth Kwarteng-Amaning; Photo: Julian Jackson

Speakers were:

Colin Fowler Generate: Creates opportunities for people with learning difficulties

Solomon Smith Founder of Brixton Soup Kitchen

Remi Ray Hidden Creatives: Inspiring creative young people with dyslexia

Yves Newlove The Newlove experience motivational networker

Joanna Smith Personal Assistant for people with specific learning difficulties

Leslie Lewis-Walker Founder of Out of the Box Thinkers and Videographer

Adijat Mumunie Director of Begin2Sports group

Enrico Riva Assisted Technology Specialist

Dianne Greyson Equilibrium Mediation Consulting

Margaret Hurley Founder of Original Organics and Chef.

There was also a guest spot for Harry, a dyslexic young lad and his mum. Harry is taking on the challenge of a 5K run to raise funds for A2i.

Some of the panel had very difficult upbringings, where there dyslexia was undiagnosed. Although it seems that awareness of the issue is better nowadays, there is still a way to go. One speaker talked about getting to college, receiving an assistive computer, which came with a huge printed manual – so it stayed in its box, unused!

There was a very wide range of different careers that the speakers represented, from a technology specialist to an organic chef. Most of them recounted painful experiences when they were younger, of schoolteachers dismissing them a “lazy” or “stupid” instead of realising they had dyslexia. Many of the speakers chose to create their own businesses or enterprises, to avoid having to do conventional things like filling in forms. So it seemed that there is a spirit of entrepreneurialism in the dyslexia community. They were adept at finding niche markets where their unique skills would be in demand, and creating portfolios of different types of work so they could make their way in the world using the abilities they knew they had.

You can find our more about the programmes of help for dyslexic people on A2i’s website:


Author: This article was written by Julian Jackson, Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce’s resident blogger and copywriter – https://julianj.journoportfolio.com



Grand Sandwich

The energetic covers band Jam Sandwich will play a concert in memory of local man Ed Fisk at the Clapham Grand on the 16th of June. Featuring a set list of songs that should have something for everyone, it should be a great evening for anyone who loves music and enjoys a cracking night out. Bring your singing voices and dancing shoes!!

Doors open at 6pm.

Tickets are available here: https://www.designmynight.com/london/clubs/clapham/the-clapham-grand/grand-sandwich

Keep up to date with Jam Sandwich at www.facebook.com/jamsandwichband

Exciting Half-Day Course: Drive Your Business to the Next Level

Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce have partnered with highly-experienced business trainers Beverley Corson and Bryan Charter to create the Engineering Business Growth Club. Beverley says, “Do you want to look back on the next twelve months and be proud and astonished by the progress you and your business have made?”

The objective of the event on 21st April is to give business owners the opportunity to invest time to think and plan their way forward for the next year.

Owners can be too focussed on the moment and the ongoing demands of their business, and this is where you will look at the bigger goals.

Beverley says, “We believe you need to have a clear picture of where you’re going and then develop a strategy for getting there. This in turn will help you to make better decisions in the moment about what to invest in, where to focus your efforts and where to invest your time if you want to grow.”

The half-day workshop, is being held on 21st April at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Battersea.

During this workshop business leaders will:

Review their performance over the last year and extract the key lessons to feed into even better results over the year to come.

Learn strategies, processes and activities that are worth doing more of so they can build on them. Learn from past failures and analyse issues to identify solutions and avoid mistakes.

Clarify their vision for the next 12 months and what the next level is in their business.

“After attending this event me and my business partner were totally clear on how we needed to move forward and what to focus on next – we’d recommend it to any business wanting to grow!”, said Dom Thorpe, of Wireless Fitness Ltd after attending the previous session of this workshop earlier in the year.

The event takes place at: Crowne Plaza London
Bridges Wharf Battersea
SW11 3BE London
Friday, 21 April 2017 from 09:00 to 12:00

Cost £25.00 inc VAT.

To book


Businesses will also get an opportunity for ongoing development with the Engineering Business Growth Club. Both this event and the Business Growth Club are being delivered in partnership with Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce.


Author: This article was written by Julian Jackson, Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce’s resident blogger and copywriter – www.julianjackson.co.uk https://julianj.journoportfolio.com

Wandsworth Business Awards Triumph for Local Companies

This is the fourth year that Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce has presented its business awards. This year was the biggest yet, with 260 people attending a black tie sit-down meal, gourmet-catered by local foodies Anson and Curtis.

At the presentation taking place in the council’s Civic Suite, were many local businesses, competing for 12 awards in various categories, from Best Family Business to Best Hospitality.

Steve Pinto CEO, Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce, says, “Wandsworth Chamber were delighted to be able to continue the tradition of the Wandsworth Business Awards for the fourth successive year. The 2016 Business Awards and Gala Dinner celebrations exceeded all expectations with a record number of businesses and key stakeholders attending. These Awards highlight some of the most vibrant businesses in the borough and set a high benchmark for aspiring local talent. Our sponsors are very supportive and without their help these businesses would not have the opportunity to be recognised, so please visit our website and engage with our Winners, Finalists and Sponsors. …and if you run a business we would love to see you enter next year’s Awards.”

The awards are the high point of the local business calendar, with Wandsworth comedian John Maloney giving the awards a polished hosting and speeches by Chamber Chairman Douglas Shanks and President Jane Ellison MP.

Category and Winner:

1. Best Green Business

Wandsworth Oasis

2. Best Family Friendly Business

The Putney Clinic

3. Commitment to the Community

Battersea Power Station Development Company

4. Best Hospitality

Brickwood Coffee & Bread

5. Best Marketing

Boot Buddy

6. Best Customer Service

The Hive Honey Shop

7. Best Training & Development

Julius Rutherfoord & Co

8. Best Independent Retailer

We Brought Beer

9. Best SME Business

Assael Architecture

10. Best New Business

Crossfit Shapesmiths

11. Entrepreneur of the Year

Le Bureau

12. Business of the Year

Minar Jewellers

Tooting Market

The main sponsors of the awards were Wandsworth Council and Southside Shopping Centre. The awards show that Wandsworth is a thriving place for business and commerce, and they show excellence in the winning businesses and the many other participants who continue to make the Borough a great place to do business.

Photo by Charlie Round-Turner http://roundturnervisuals.com



Author: This article was written by Julian Jackson, Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce’s resident blogger and copywriter – www.julianjackson.co.uk https://julianj.journoportfolio.com

SWL.TV – Connecting Communities


Many local businesses will be familiar with South West London TV, filming Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce events. Founder Peter Fison has just revamped their website to make it more interactive and “connected to the community.”

He has had an interesting career. His previous job in IT management was successful, but not entirely satisfying – he liked the buzz from being around creative people, so he set up a video business which evolved to become SWL.TV about three years ago.

The concept is to have three overlapping areas of content production: pure entertainment, such as filming local musicians, business video production – which is the bedrock of the company’s income stream, and community work, such as covering charity events. Peter says, “Ideally all three should overlap – for example local estate agents Seymour Green sponsored filming of the Wandle Trust’s cleanup of the river. That benefited all involved and the Trust got a nice little video to show what they do, which they couldn’t have necessarily afforded without the sponsorship.”

The new website is an extension of their aim to reach out to a wide audience across South West London. Although their over 400 videos were reaching a following on YouTube, Peter realised that by posting content to their own site and linking it with social media, he could better reach an audience in and around SW London. He jokes, “I wanted to showcase South West London, and YouTube was giving our viewers video suggestions about South West Carolina.”

He attributes some of the “shift in thinking” to the networking events of Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce, where he could see that there were lots of connected businesses and local organisations, which would be needing video communications.

The new website encourages user-driven content. Besides SWL.TV videos, local people can submit articles, photographs, and announce events in a community calendar. Obviously Peter and his team of creative people cannot film every event in the borough, but the new website allows users to connect even without video, for example by announcing their events and posting material, making it more participatory than just a “brochure” site.

SWL.TV works with various charities and community partners across the area. These include the Wimbledon Foundation, which is the charitable arm of the famous tennis club, AFC Wimbledon and Battersea Power Station Foundation, all of which work with local communities to fund valuable projects, as well as smaller charities such as Share, STORM Empowerment, and Oasis to name just a few.

Peter concludes, “I really enjoy making those connections, between disparate groups, so we can all work together. Wandsworth Chamber has been excellent for finding those connections.”


Author: This article was written by Julian Jackson, Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce’s resident blogger and copywriter – www.julianjackson.co.uk https://julianj.journoportfolio.com

Of Things Not Seen

14th November 2016 for two weeks at St James ChurchPark Hill, Clapham, SW4 9PB
Shot by local award-winning photographer Jim Grover, a resident of Clapham for over 20 years, ‘Of Things Not Seen’  tells the story of a year of my ministry through 46 black and white prints. The exhibition was first shown at the Oxo Gallery on London’s South Bank in March this year, attracting 7,400 visitors and extensive media coverage by the BBC, The Guardian, and the British Journal of Photography. We are now proud to bringing it home to Clapham ahead of its UK tour, and invite you to in snacking on some refreshments while enjoying these powerful images

Also, as we’re exploring ways to make our space more versatile and useful to locals users, both commercial and private, we’d really value your insight and suggestions on ways in which we can make this work. Please visit our website and take a minute to brainstorm with us, sharing your opinions on what makes a space ideal for hire in Clapham (www.stjamesclapham.org.uk)

We’ll be open every day from 14th-27th November – for opening times, please visit the website.
Admission is free.

RuTC Open Events this Autumn

Follow in the footsteps of thousands of Richmond upon Thames College students who secured university places or employment over the past year.
It is important that students make an informed decision about their study and training options in years 12 and 13. At Richmond upon Thames College, we want all students to make the right choice as we know from experience that students who are happy with their chosen study or training programme are much more likely to succeed and do well in the future.

Throughout the year we offer prospective students and parents lots of opportunities to find out more about life at RuTC and the courses we offer. Come along to an Open Event and experience first-hand our successful and vibrant college community and discover how one of London’s best performing colleges can help you achieve your ambitions.

Our events give you the opportunity to find out more about our wide range of courses and training programmes including A levels, vocational and technical qualifications and apprenticeships. You can also talk to our specialist staff about how we can support you in your studies and how our excellent links with employers and work experience opportunities can help you successfully achieve your ambitions.
Want to join us and find out more about your exciting opportunities at a leading college? Please book your place using this link: https://www.rutc.ac.uk/key-information/16-18/open-day-and-evenings/open-day-and-evenings-registration-form.html

Battersea Spanish

Autumn is here and Battersea Spanish is kicking it all off with a fun-packed term, bigger and better than ever! From Spanish for adults and kids, dances courses in Flamenco, Tango and Salsa, to a series of great social events exploring Spanish and Latin American culture, there is definitely something for everyone! To find out more, why not check out our website www.batterseaspanish.com

Miles For Missing Children

Missing People are organising a charity event on Clapham Common this September

The feel-good run you don’t want to MISS!
Miles for Missing Children, South West London’s ultimate feel-good run is returning to Clapham Common on Sunday 25th September.

Feeling competitive? Our run is chip-timed so you can give that extra push to beat your PB! Or if running isn’t your thing, you can walk the race, or just cheer from the side-lines and enjoy the festivities.

Sign up at www.missingpeople.org.uk/miles
• Run 10 miles, 3 miles or the 1 mile kid’s route
• Enjoy live entertainment and a festival atmosphere
• Grab an amazing goodie bag and medal
• Win prizes for the best fancy-dress

All runners wear an appeal poster of a child who has gone missing from home. Join us to race and raise awareness for the 140,000 children who go missing in the UK every year.

Sign up at www.missingpeople.org.uk/miles
Sunday 25th September 2016, Clapham Common. Registration: 9am

Still need convincing? Here’s what a previous runner had to say about Miles:
“As a mother of a missing child, Miles was a perfect balance of fun and emotion. Heart-warming to know so many people care about families like mine living this nightmare.”