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Wednesday 14 October 2015

Richard Woods starring in BBC's The Apprentice

BBC One’s The Apprentice starts this week and Solent alumnus Richard Woods is hoping to impress Lord Sugar with his business know-how. The 32-year-old digital marketing director is one of eighteen candidates braving the boardroom in the hope of working with business magnate and political advisor, Lord Sugar.

Richard graduated in 2005 with a 2:1 honours degree in business and entrepreneurship. He has gone on to start four successful businesses including, digital marketing agency,Yomp. We interviewed Richard about his time at Solent, his business highlights, and found out what his advice is to fellow entrepreneurs.

As well as studying, what else did you get up to at Solent?

I enjoyed my time captaining Team Solent Rugby.

For your final dissertation you wrote about the links between dyslexia and entrepreneurship, why did you choose this topic?

I am heavily dyslexic and passionate about the benefits of having it, such as; thinking outside of the box, creativity, problem solving and verbal communication skills.


What are your fondest memories from your university days?

Meeting my soon-to-be wife on the first day. She was in the room opposite me in Deanery halls.

Are you still in touch with friends from uni?

I am indeed. I play in the old boys rugby match each year and regularly see alumni friends for a catch-up.

What lessons learnt at university have been most useful in your working life?

Lessons wise, marketing and strategy for small business as I went on to set up my own business within six months of graduating. Being captain of the rugby team taught me confidence, loyalty and team work.

What have you done since graduating in 2005?

I’ve set up and rapidly grown four businesses to date. I also regularly talk at large business events. I have a wonderful family that is soon to become bigger! I have a son Mylo, and we have another one on the way in December.



What have been your business highlights to date?

Being awarded Marketing Campaign of the Year in 2014, as well as awards for online business innovation in the U.S. I am also involved in the ‘City Deal of the Year’ award and have worked on the McDonalds Olympics marketing campaigns.

Did you always want to work for yourself, if so why?

The course I did confirmed my flair for business. Looking back, it was clear that my brother and I learned the foundations of business growing up in an entrepreneurial household.

What made you apply for The Apprentice?

I was ready to test myself against the best in business, in the eyes of one of my idols.

What talents/skills will you be bringing to the challenge?

Sales, marketing strategy, confidence and experience.

What advice/top tips do you have for entrepreneurial students at Solent?

There is never a perfect time to take the leap into running your own business. But in the global connected economy we all find ourselves in, there has never been a better time. If you have the desire and you like hard work, jump in with both feet.

Who are your business/entrepreneurial inspirations?

My Father, Dennis Woods, grew his oil business with his brother. They started with a small paraffin delivery job selling the bottles door-to-door, like a milkman. He went from selling door-to-door to growing his company to become the largest independent home heating oil distributor in the UK, with over 250 staff and turning over half a billion pounds per annum. He was nominated for both the Entrepreneur of the Year and the City Deal of the Year awards within his forty year career.

His story was the typical humble-beginning-to-riches story and it was impossible not to be inspired by his drive and talents. He would always push my brother, sister and me to take our own initiative and would make us work for everything.

You can read more about Richard’s passion for business in his new book, Digital Trailblazer due for release in November 2015.

Watch Richard’s audition video and find out more on his profile on the BBC website.

The Apprentice airs on BBC One this Wednesday 14 and Thursday 15 October at 9pm and then every Wednesday at 9pm.