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Dragons’ Den entrepreneur releases ‘gripping’ autobiography

This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018 at 11:14 am.

WESTBURY’S serial entrepreneur, Jordan Daykin, the youngest success story in the history of the BBC’s Dragons’ Den, has released his autobiography at the age of 22.

Jordan first shot to fame as a teenager in 2014 when he won a £80,000  investment from ‘Dragon’ Deborah Meaden in exchange for a 25% share of his business GripIt. His company specialises in an innovative plasterboard fixing that Jordan invented with the help of his grandfather at the age of 13.

Four years on, Jordan’s success has continued to skyrocket with GripIt Fixings now a international success worth £20million and the recent appointment of him as CEO of automotive heavyweight VPS Group Ltd, after a £5million acquisition deal.

To mark the release of his autobiography,  ‘Gripped: My Story’, Jordan met with the White Horse News to talk about the inspiration behind his book, what he loves about living in Westbury and how he is on the hunt for the next young entrepreneur to follow in his footsteps.

What inspired you to write the book?

“I’ve done a lot of school talks – and there was one time when they gave me the most disruptive class – the teachers wished me good luck as I went in – and I did an hour’s presentation and afterwards speaking to them, they found it so motivational. The teachers said that was the most engaged the pupils have ever been.

“Since then, some of them have started their own businesses and have been messaging me. So it was mainly that which kicked it off.”

What do you say to those people who say 22 is too young to write an autobiography?

“I did think ‘Can I really write an autobiography at 22?’. But I started putting pen to paper and at this rate, I’ll have to do another one when I’m 40! If I left it any longer it would be so big, people would be bored to read it.

“When I read it back, I thought actually there’s a lot in there for someone who is 22. I’ve not had a normal 22-year-old’s life, there’s been all sorts!”

What surprises await the readers of ‘Gripped: My Story’?

There are loads of surprises – not many people know that I lived in Sierra Leone in West Africa for six months, where I had a near death experience – but you will have to read to find out more.

“Lots of people locally will know that I got arrested after some big family issues. This is the first time that I’ve really spoken about it, as at the time it was tough. Being arrested is one thing, but being sold-out publically to the papers was another. People do read what they see in the papers and take it as gospel, and the next minute I was being called a thief. So this is my side of the story.

“And then there is the journey of GripIt and how I went from just a normal guy from Westbury to  all of a sudden being in the press, and all the good bits and bad bits that come with that.”

What do you hope people take away from reading the book?

“For young people I hope it shows that you don’t have to go to university, that you can have no GCSEs, like I do, and make a success of yourself.

“I’m hoping it will inspire people at school who aren’t doing well, who aren’t academic to give it a go,  to take chances in life – not necessarily start a business, but also in jobs and careers.

“For people in business, hopefully the book will act as a guide and help them to not make the same mistakes that I’ve made.”

If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play you?

“I’d give it a go myself! Seriously, I would like to say Leonardo DiCaprio because of his role in ‘The Wolf on Wall Street’ – someone business-minded, and why not aim high!  Laura my fiancee always jokingly says that the ‘Beast’ from the gameshow ‘The Chase’, should play me – thanks for that Laura!”

You have a net worth of millions and whilst some would move to sunnier climes, you have stayed in the Westbury area – what keeps you here?

“For me it’s my friends and family, it’s where my roots are. I moved out to Warminster last year for a year, but now I’m back in Dilton Marsh, it keeps drawing me back. It’s a friendly community and it’s quiet.

“It was a big thing for us to keep GripIt local – my granddad wanted to keep it in the UK, and for me I wanted to stay local as I live here and there are friends that have helped me along the way, and I wanted to give them a job if they wanted it in the future.”

Could you see yourself joining the Dragons’ Den line-up?

I’ve always said that it would be interesting and Deborah (Meaden) and I have joked about it – she says that she is keeping my seat warm!

“I would consider it. I do like the idea of supporting new start-ups. It would be interesting for the show as they have never had someone go full circle.

“As a ‘Dragon’ I would be firm but fair, I know how nervous they would be -things don’t always go right in the pitches – but at the end of the day it is your money going into the business, so definitely firm but fair.”

Is Deborah Meaden still involved in GripIt?

“Yeah, we speak most weeks, mainly as a sounding board, making sure we are on track and she’s down every two months to visit. We’ve also invested in another business that she took on from Dragons’ Den and we’re about to complete on another one. It’s working really well.”

What’s next for you?

“My aim is to make GripIt a household name. I’ve also just bought a new business, VPS,  and I have big growth plans for that.

“Family wise, I’ve just   bought a new house, so I’m gutting that. My little girl is nine months – so being the best dad I can and getting more time at home, as the work/life balance is tough.

“Also, I have launched a competition off the back of the book, the Jordan Daykin Enterprise scheme. It’s a competition for under 16s  to submit their business idea or business. The winner will get £30,000 and a 12-month mentorship scheme. I will meet with them to develop an in-depth plan for their business and will speak weekly and meet regularly with them. I’m looking for the next 12-year-old me!”

‘Gripped: My Story’ is available in paperback on Amazon, visit the website for more details: www.amazon.co.uk/ Gripped-My-Story-Jordan-Daykin/dp/0857197150

For more information about the Jordan Daykin Enterprise Scheme, visit: www.jordandaykin.co.uk

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