09 Apr 2010 00:00:00.000
The founder of a recession-beating charity which began life at The University of Nottingham has won a national award for entrepreneurship… a Daily Mail Enterprising Young Brit Award.
‘Alumnus Laureate’ Rob Wilson set up READ International in 2004 while studying for his Politics degree at the University. The idea was born out of a gap year experience when a group of students were shocked at the lack of resources in schools they visited in Tanzania. Since then Rob’s charity has shipped around 600,000 books to East Africa.
Rob was one of six young entrepreneurs presented with their awards by the Business Secretary, Lord Mandelson, at a ceremony at the headquarters of the Institute of Directors in Central London.
Click here for full story
Lord Mandelson declared that it is young people like Rob and his fellow award-winners, all under 30, who will help to drive the economy out of recession. He said:
“Despite the toughest economic conditions we have known for decades, this year’s Enterprising Young Brit competition has received a record number of entries. That says something about enterprise and about the young people who are committed to enterprise in this country. Their skills will be the key to the nation’s economic future. ”
Rob Wilson’s award for READ International was in the Social, Ethical and Environmental category. As well as collecting, shipping and distributing schoolbooks and other resources, the charity also supports the renovation of dozens of school libraries there so that access to the books is improved. Rob said:
“ It’s difficult to describe in words just how far we’ve come since we started this as a bunch of mates at The University of Nottingham with a vision to change the world. Winning this award means so much to me — but so much too, to the thousands of student volunteers who have invested time, energy, sweat and passion into READ over past 5 years. Not just the volunteers from Nottingham — but the volunteers all across the UK who are now involved.“
“But we haven’t done it alone. It was The University of Nottingham’s volunteer department that provided us with the perfect platform we needed to launch our organisation — which now has 1,000 student volunteers engaged, working from over 45 university locations around the UK. I and READ owe a debt of thanks to the University for the support we received at the time, but also the support that the alumni services has given me ever since. I have recruited trustees through the alumni network and attracted supporters.”
READ International also has links with UK schools in its delivery of a workshop programme called Think Global to secondary schools. This is in partnership with Oxfam GB and is aimed at raising awareness of global citizenship to UK school children.
It has also successfully established other commercial partnerships with Big Yellow Self Storage, British Airways, Latham and Watkins, DHL, Waterstones, KPMG, Staples and the British Library.
The charity is looking for new support all the time to expand its operations further. Details of how to get involved can be found at www.readinternational.org.uk.
— Ends —
Notes to editors:
The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 100 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THE) World University Rankings.
More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to RAE 2008, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranks the University 7th in the UK by research power. In 27 subject areas, the University features in the UK Top Ten, with 14 of those in the Top Five.
The University provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's "only truly global university", it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation — School of Pharmacy), and was named ‘Entrepreneurial University of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2008.
Nottingham was designated as a Science City in 2005 in recognition of its rich scientific heritage, industrial base and role as a leading research centre. Nottingham has since embarked on a wide range of business, property, knowledge transfer and educational initiatives (www.science-city.co.uk) in order to build on its growing reputation as an international centre of scientific excellence. The University of Nottingham is a partner in Nottingham: the Science City.