Jonny and Alex

Once upon una vez

Do you remember learning languages at colegio? Nottingham graduate, Jonny Pryn (English, 2014) and his business partner Alex, are on a mission to help children learn foreign languages, writing beautiful stories that start in English and end in another language.

Thanks to the support of volunteer mentors taking part in the University’s Ingenuity16 competition, their business One Third Stories has become reality.

In this article alone, you will be introduced to 10 words in español. Find out more about One Third Stories and their Clockwork Methodology at

Nestled away on our Jubilee Campus, is a lab incubating innovative student and alumni businesses. One Third Stories is one such empresa. After winning Ingenuity16, one of the biggest university entrepreneurship competitions globally, this young empresa has now launched a subscription based monthly story box. 

“I’ve always had a passion for books and for entrepreneurship” said Jonny.

“When I was in 6th form, Alex and I published an adventure libro for children with some friends. Then the reality of A-levels set in but we became close friends through the process.“I read ‘A Clockwork Orange’ while studying English at Nottingham, which is partially written in a secret lengua. Alex is passionate about lenguas and is plurilingüe and suddenly an idea about libros to learn another lengua clicked into place.



Nottingham mentors helped transform our business

“We developed this idea of libros that start in inglés and end in another lengua, and called it ‘The Clockwork Methodology’. We decided to just go for it but we didn’t really know what we were doing and started running out of money rapidly.

“Then we entered Ingenuity16 at Nottingham. The competition completely transformed our empresa. Although we’d met other mentors previously, it was immediately apparent that this was different. Everyone we spoke to was genuinely interested in how they could help, finding problemas with the empresa but also helping us find solutions too.  I remember thinking, ‘even if we don’t win, this process will change everything we do’.

“We always thought everyone would want an app but really they just wanted a libro. Various people had told us this but sometimes it takes banging your head against the wall to realise the obvious.

Illustrations by Hannah Hutchings

“I’m convinced the mentoring support is what won us the concurso. Winning meant we could put more resources into our Kickstarter campaign, resulting in £35,000 of pre-orders for our first libro.“As a young entrepreneur, access to groups like the Ingenuity Lab are invaluable. The advice I trust most is from people who have been through the same process – they know what works.”


Giving the gift of language

“We ‘kid-sourced’ all the ideas for our libro by running a story concurso. We had 1,500 entries – and all the stories and characters in our libros are based on these submissions. Just before Christmas we delivered our first products. It’s been amazing to see niños and parents enjoying the libros and hear about the positive impact it’s having on them. Our experience at Ingenuity16, and the mentors in particular, helped put us on this path. I can’t say gracias enough.”


Mentoring keeps me sharp

For lawyer Ed Wright, giving his time to help student start-ups has been an energising experience for over 10 years.

“I’m hugely enthusiastic about seeing how businesses like One Third Stories develop. It’s been a real joy working with the Ingenuity Lab, the business ideas and problems I have been faced with there never cease to amaze me. It is a very open field and that helps me keep sharp. 

“My professional experience and external point of view means that I can help owners identify issues and opportunities they may not have considered. I would definitely encourage others to get involved in mentoring - it’s an incredibly rewarding experience both personally and professionally.”

Ed Wright


Ingenuity16 is the University’s entrepreneurship competition open to all University of Nottingham students and alumni. Thanks to your generosity, 450 Ingenuity16 entrants were able to compete for a total prize fund of £110,000, with the support of 40 expert mentors like Ed providing tailored advice.


Could you mentor a business like One Third Stories? Explore our volunteering opportunities.