Samuel Ola — Co-founder and Chief Product Officer of Nestwork — has made it his mission to leverage the power of community and networks to ensure that no one’s job future is left to chance.
Since the days of selling sweets and drinks in school, I’ve always had a natural knack for solving problems and creating value. This curiosity led me to becoming an entrepreneur, constantly seeking to fix things that I believe could be done better in the world.
Since moving to the UK as a child, I’ve always been driven to contribute positively to the communities I’m surrounded by, and I believe this is something that was instilled in me by my parents.
The idea for Nestwork came during my second year of university, when I led one of the largest student societies and partnered with graduate employers that were looking to hire diverse students. Having engaged with hundreds of students, I knew the problems they had when trying to secure internships or graduate roles, and I understood that employers wanted to reach students in a more cost effective and scalable way. This experience inspired me to start Nestwork, and our aim is to help students discover and secure their dream jobs by leveraging peer to peer learning.
"One of the most effective ways to learn about careers is to speak to those who have been where you want to be."
Networking across, not networking up — the value of peer to peer learning
Nestwork is a careers social network for students. On our web app, we connect students to personalised communities of peers based on their career interests. We also allow students to ask questions to graduates at their favourite employers, to learn more about different companies from the people within them.
Why peer to peer learning? It’s because we’ve found that one of the most effective ways to learn about careers is to speak to those who have been where you want to be. We recognise that not every student has access to these networks and connections, so we decided to build a platform dedicated to helping students with their careers in a social way. You can think of us like a Linkedin for students.
Where Future Leaders comes in
I came across the Future Leaders programme in a tweet. I was initially drawn towards the fact that it had an emphasis on diverse entrepreneurs. The access to office space and funding was probably the deciding factor for applying, because those two things are incredibly important for any business at the early stage, and it was just what we needed.
I’ve really enjoyed my experience. The intimacy of the cohort is incredible, as it enables you to build real connections with the other founders and mentors. I’ve also learnt valuable topics from the sessions and my mentors. The TPXimpact offices have also allowed myself and the team to do strategy sessions together which have really helped us bond as a team and drive our business forward.
My standout moment and biggest challenge as a Future Leader
One of the standout moments was the alumni dinner. The event consisted of previous Future Leaders from the programme, along with the current cohort, to discuss important topics, network and eat food! It was super inspiring learning about the experiences of other entrepreneurs, and the conversations were intriguing. A challenge has been juggling the programme alongside my business and a full time job.
"The intimacy of the cohort is incredible, as it enables you to build real connections with the other founders and mentors."
The TPXimpact programme leads are super flexible and understanding though, and I have been given the opportunity to reschedule for times that suited me best, which I really appreciate.
The programme is 100% worth it. The people you will meet will make the experience even more incredible, but the benefits you get can really help you make your business a success.
What’s next for Nestwork?
We’re launching before the end of Q4! This will be a private beta and we’re really excited to finally put the product in the hands of users.
In a year's time, I would like to see Nestwork as a popular destination for students researching and applying to jobs, internships, or placements.
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