By Cara Sulieman
A SCHOOLBOY is being tipped as a new Alan Sugar style ‘Apprentice’ after he started a successful business selling exam papers.
Along with a group of friends, he developed a website where pupils across the country can buy and sell their old past papers.
Sold in the shops for an average of £8 – past papers can be a hefty investment for pupils studying for their Standard Grades and Highers.
But thanks to Pursuit UK, they can now grab themselves a bargain by buying used books from older students.
And the brains behind the idea, Calum Leslie, 18, has been praised by his head teacher at Boroughmuir High school in Edinburgh, Jack Hamilton.
He said: “He has got a great little niche in the market and this idea won the group the Lothians Young Enterprise competition.
“Calum has a lot of great ideas and he is really interested in business. Here’s a guy who’s tipped for the top – the next Apprentice.”
The site doesn’t take a commission from the students – they make money through advertising and currently have seven businesses signed up, paying £20 a month each.
And it doesn’t stop there – the business is already expanding, with a bank of 20 teachers being built up to act as a virtual mentor to pupils who ask questions about their revision on the study forum.
It is clear that Calum is determined to make the most of his venture, planning to continue the site once he has left school to study Law and Economics at Edinburgh University.
He said: “I had a small pile of past papers under my bed and nobody really does anything with them once they’re finished, so we came up with this idea.
“This website means pupils in the younger year groups can go on and buy the papers at reduced rates.
“It’s very helpful for those people who need to buy them but can’t afford them at retail prices – if you have to buy eight of them it can be really expensive.
“We don’t make money from the students but we charge businesses for advertising space.
“Our goal is to increase popularity among students and encourage more companies to invest.
“We are students and we know how hard it is to get this kind of help, so we have the best view-point.
“We are looking to expand the number of teachers and when we go into business properly we might have to start paying teachers for their time.
“Before we told the school that we were going to carry on with this, the principal teacher asked us if we would pass the reins on when we left, because it is such a valuable asset to the school.”