Who are you?

My name is Kieran Aitken, founder of Orbit Enterprise Education.

What does your business do?

We are a social enterprise starting a revolution from a grassroots level. As a teenage business incubator, we work with over 20 schools in the greater Glasgow area.

From this pool of applicants, we select 60 teenagers for the programme, each of whom will launch their own business. Our role is to provide support and advice throughout the process.

Where are you based?

We are delighted to be working from the Entrepreneurial Spark Powered by Royal Bank of Scotland Glasgow Hatchery and have premises on St. Vincent Street, sponsored by Royal Bank of Scotland.

How did you get started?

During high school, I never felt that the ‘educational’ programmes were very engaging or inspiring, and once I started running my own company, I realised just how different the working world is to the academic world.

After overhearing that Sir Tom Hunter was visiting a factory in Uddingston, I travelled over and waited for three hours to speak to him. It was worth the wait as he shared relevant contacts we needed to get Orbit off the ground, and it’s kept growing ever since.

What is your background?

At 13 I became infatuated with business. I read a lot of books, ranging from Michael Porter’s ‘Competitive Strategy’ to Duncan Bannatyne’s ‘Anyone can do it’. With this knowledge, I launched a car wash business at 16 and it was a great success. We were making thousands of pounds with 95% profit margins and a few employees.

Launching Orbit seemed the next natural step, and I have had the privilege of working with some amazing people in the process.

What is your top tip?

Don’t take yourself too seriously, life’s too short, so have a laugh through the good and bad times.

How long has your business been running?

We’ve been going for one year.

Has anyone helped you get started and how?

Working with my Enabler, Alex, at Entrepreneurial Spark has helped grow and scale my business to take it to the next level. Alex is always completely candid when giving me advice which I really value and keeps me on my toes!

Sir Tom Hunter gave us an initial grant, along with Firstport, a government backed agency to help teenage entrepreneurs. Royal Bank of Scotland has also been a huge support, providing us with a wealth of business development expertise.

What was your biggest mistake/or what would you do differently?

Entrepreneurs are people who jump off cliffs, and build a parachute on the way down, and I’ve made plenty of mistakes, but that’s part of the process, isn’t it? It’s important to learn from mistakes to ensure they doesn’t happen again and begin to impact your business.

My biggest mistake is planning. Despite being a very organised person, , I could have been more prepared before launching Orbit, instead of having to adapt as I went along.

Who is your mentor/or inspiration?

Sir Tom Hunter is a huge inspiration for me: he’s a modern-day Andrew Carnegie. Despite being one of the most successful entrepreneurs in Scotland, he still has his feet firmly on the ground which is truly inspiring. The second time I met him in his Ayrshire office I wore a full suit. When I walked in, he was wearing jeans and a t-shirt; he has stayed true to his roots.

Where do you plan your business to be in five years’ time?

Orbit has been a massive success in Glasgow, launching many teenagers into business. We want to continue this success across the country and aim to expand into several locations around the UK over the next five years, launching over 600 teenage businesses annually.

Contact Details

Kieran Aitken

07970 040604